San Diego Fire - 1,750 Homes Destroyed or Damaged, 100 Businesses Effected

This is the forth day of the raging series of fires that have destroyed or damaged 1,750 homes, closed 100 businesses, and scorched 263,000 acres of land. All of this has resulted in over 500,000 people being displaced from their homes over this time.

I've heard reports of people coming down just to volunteer to help. If you're anywhere but there, it's hard to understand exactly what's going on or the enormity of it, untill you see something like this Google Map here.

The map shows that it's not one fire but many fires spread around a vast area. I count 20 in all, and raging in size from the 200,000 acre Witch Fire to the 160 acres Walker Fire. Whatever the case, the fires -- even the small ones -- are very large in size.

So large, they dwarf the 1991 Oakland Hills Fire. That disaster covered 1,520 acres; this one consists of several blazes, all save for three between 10 and 100 times larger than the Oakland Hills Fire.

It's a series of fires too large for standard fire fighting systems to tackle.

In a mess that really can be traced back to Proposition 13, San Diego County has no fire department, only "a hodgepodge of operations". LA Biz Observed explains this problem in more detail:

Expect a bunch of stories over the next few days about how San Diego was not prepared for this week's firestorms - despite the area having gone through the Cedar Fire disaster in 2003. Steve Erie, the prominent UC San Diego political science professor, tells the WSJ that "the only lessons applied were those that don't cost any money. ...In terms of new fire prevention or fighting capabilities, we have barely made any progress." One central problem, Erie says, is that unlike L.A. County, San Diego doesn't have a countywide fire department. That leaves what he calls a “hodgepodge” of operations.

And while the region tries to cope with a giant disaster without the tools needed to do so properly, Qualcomm Stadium fills with evacuees, seen as a "constant panorama of families in pain and kids trying to figure out why their worlds were grabbed from them.”

So are we.

More on this, but for now, let's watch this video made by Cory Williams, "Mr. Safety" on YouTube, who lives in the fire area:

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