Arson Suspected as Firefighters Battling California Firefighters Welcome Easing Winds

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

They do have in custody a suspect considered to having started at least one of the fires but can not substantiate any evidence of him being involved with any of the others but to me one is enough as far as I’m concerned.  

I have relatives who have a beach home in Carlsbad.  I called them to see if they were ok and even though they are located about 15 miles south of the fires they are getting the soot and embers that far away.  So not only does the fires destroy the property specific to an area the fires can have an effect on surrounding areas as far as at least 15 miles away. 

As I live in Florida I remember the fires we had in 1998 and the horrible destruction we had and even though we weren’t in the direct path we could smell the smoke and had ashes and soot all around and on some days couldn’t see the house across the street and that day the fires were over 30 miles away but the wind was in our direction.  It looked like night it was so dark.  We were fortunate in the fact that the winds were not as high as those in California and even though our loss was devastating it no way compared to what is happening in California.  So if you can please take a minute and think of those who are facing loss and destruction and keep them in your thoughts.

SAN DIEGO — A new round of evacuations was ordered in San Diego County Wednesday where officials said raging wildfires have caused more than $1 billion in property damage.

Sixteen fires burning for four days across seven counties stretching from Malibu, north of Los Angeles, to the Mexican border, have killed five people, destroyed 1,500 homes, consumed 426,000 acres– or about 665 square miles– and forced between 500,000 to one million people from their homes–the largest evacuation in the state’s history.

San Diego County has been the hardest hit with five separate fires, the largest of which has consumed 196,420 acres — about 300 square miles — from Witch Creek to Rancho Santa Fe, destroying 650 homes.

           

“Clearly, this is going to be a $1 billion or more disaster,” Ron Lane, San Diego County’s director of emergency services, told reporters during a news conference.

Click here for today’s photos

President Bush declared on Wednesday that a major disaster exists in California and ordered federal aid to supplement the state and local recovery efforts in the area


Firefighters sift through the charred home of a colleague in San Diego.

•But at Qualcom Stadium, where thousands of evacuees have taken refuge, the Schlotte family of Ramona, Calif., spoke to FOX News of a different reality.

 The family did not own property but were renters, with no insurance to cover their losses. Ben Schlotte, a house painter, lost his work truck and equipment in the fire, and said that with so many homes destroyed in the area, his painting business was essentially finished.

“All of our memories are gone,” his wife, Billy, said.

•”I’m ready to go, but at the same time, I don’t want to go up there and be surprised,” said Mary Busch, 41, who did not know whether her home in Ramona was still standing. She has lived at the evacuation center at Qualcom Stadium since Monday, sleeping in her SUV with her 11- and 8-year-old sons.

•”I called my home and my answering machine still works, so that’s how I know we’re OK,” said Rancho Bernardo resident Fuli Du, who packed his belongings Wednesday preparing to leave Qualcom.

These are just a couple of personal stories for the full report and links to others regarding the fires please click here.