Wildfire news, July 23, 2008

Firefighters dodge cluster bombs

A fire near Aley, Lebanon, is presenting firefighters with the usual hazards of a wildland fire, and one not so usual. Bombs. They are fighting a fire in what was the front lines of the 1975-1990 civil war. Left behind from that war are cluster bombs and landmines. An official said:

At least eight landmines exploded and two of them were large bombs causing huge explosions. It is a very large, steep, wooded area that is hard to get around and we can’t send our men through due to the bombs.

More information is here.

Homes burned like dominos falling

Researchers determined that of the 199 homes destroyed in last October’s Grass Valley fire near Lake Arrowhead, California, only 6 of them were directly hit by the fire. The other 193 homes ignited and burned due to surface fire contacting the home, firebrands accumulating on the home, or an adjacent burning structure. The report, by Jack Coen and Richard Stratton, concludes:

In general, the home destruction resulted from residential fire characteristics. The ignition vulnerable homes burning in close proximity to one another continued the fire spread through the residential area without the wildfire as a factor. This implies that similar fire destruction might occur without a wildfire. A house fire at an upwind location at the same time and under the same conditions as the wildfire could have resulted in significant fire spread within the community.


Grass Valley fire, Lake Arrowhead, California

The complete report can be found HERE.

Basin fire, east of Big Sur, California

The fire is 139,167 acres and is 72% contained. From this morning’s report:

Burnout operations were conducted yesterday along Blue Rock Ridge to Los Padres Reservoir and progress was made in the burnout along Chew’s Ridge north of the Mira Observatory. The smoke from these operations carried over Carmel Valley Village.

Today burnout will continue from Miller Canyon to the Los Padres Dam and smoke will be visible.

Burnout operations are continuing around Tanbark and Arroyo Seco to widen protection zones.

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