Butler Fire Meeting: We should have stayed home…

Above: Photo by Dennis from So Cal Mountains The capability of the DC10 is a BIG blessing–can’t remember the stats given at the meeting but it is a huge benefit in the fight against the Butler II Fire

Well on a scale of 1 to 10 from the lowest to the highest, we rated the community meeting about a 2–and maybe a 3 overall. We didn’t come away with too much new information and were surprised that answers to some of the questions asked were lacking or non-existent.

The animal evacuations and sheltering for instance…

All the different representatives from the many agencies working on this fire were there and so let me say that the community really appreciates all the work that they have been doing.

When asked if we could send food, the official answer is no–but cookies are always appreciated–chocolate chip especially. Fire Station 49 is the point of contact which means call or get them to a CHP at the blockade.

As for volunteers, they said attend a CERT class which begins this week. However, in the same breath they said the class was full so you’d have to wait until January. Huh? How about scheduling another class NOW when interest and motivation is at the highest?

Anyway, because we didn’t get too many answers–we didn’t find the meeting too comforting. I can say this especially true for those of us who are the ones evacuated (and I am sure for those who might be threatened with it).

Did I mention that on the way home we got a good look at the current flames on Gray’s Peak and down another ridge? Very visible and one fire line looks low and _very_ disconcerting. The wind is shifting and looks like some of the smoke is moving into the valley. Could that be why I am coughing and sneezing?

The group gave out number for fire information:
US Forestry Service Dept of Agriculture (909) 383-5688
San Bernardino County Fire (909) 355-8800

BTW: Those who evacuated were thanked for making the firefighters jobs so much easier. We appreciate that–and thanks back to you, big time.

I heard residents who stayed behind were using a phone tree (good as long as the lines are still working) to alert each other when danger was imminent but even they were told to leave today. Now, anyone who is not from an official agency will not be allowed back in. No estimates as to how long we will remain evacuated.

We found out that not only volunteers but also 50 deputies have been in the area for the evac and security through town. What a perk to have the deputies crawling around throughout Fawnskin! This is good since most of you know they get lost in Fawnskin since they don’t travel there too much…after all, we all have are firearms and look after each other–don’t we?

So back to my rant, we know wildfire incidents with weather, wind, and terrain conditions make it difficult to say exactly what is happening or will happen but it is not very comforting when it appears that there are no plans in place–because there was no real answer to the question about trigger points for evacuation or preparedness activity beyond Fawnskin. Yikes!

Even more discouraging was that the map of the incident was from 6am. After saying that they were usually about 12 hours behind with updates–at 7:30pm you would think there would have been a better update…visit this map at So Cal Mountains from Google Earth…and click on it since it does enlarge. It is outdated too but I am hopeful a new one will be posted early in the am again.

On another tangent, Sandy said that the Film Festival had a pretty good turnout despite the road closure. She is staying in Sugarloaf and did get her animals out of Fawnskin safely…we tried calling Connie with the Humane Society up here but didn’t get an answer…but here is another resource for animals (scroll down or visit the September archive to see early posts for the other numbers):

Sherlyn and Dennis will help house animals call (951) 529-7865 if you need a place for your critters.

I learned that other Fawnskin residents are staying with friends. One Fawnskin woman said that the community has been super to her and her family. That’s the good thing about living up here…despite the Fawn-tuky slams.

Another woman asked about Fawnskin mail…I get mine in a private box in Big Bear Lake–but that was a good point. Postmaster Cynthia is usually really on top of things. So, I am not sure where or when the answer is coming but it was asked–so keep your ears open. Cynthia, are you reading this? If so, get me an answer to post.

For those of you commuting: Highway 18 down through Running Springs remains closed. The fire has burned/is burning down to it and the rocks, boulders, skags, and other hazards make it pretty risky to drive. CalTrans is working at keeping the road clear for rescue personnel and will also be keeping the alternate highways in good shape for your commutes in the am. They asked everyone to be patient and to stick to the speed limit…a really good idea since there are about 24 additional chippers up here!

There were a bunch of other topics but I am tired…so just let me mention two last things:
The Butler Fire II started West of the Butler Fire that is why an investigation is being conducted on how it started. Both fires were named for their locations–near Butler PeakLookout and Butler Ridge. Butler II is not a continuation of the first fire.

Finally, I am heading out of town for an industry related event in Vegas tomorrow afternoon (hope the air quality is okay). Anyone brave enough to volunteer to run the blog while I am gone? Rick?

If so, drop me an email and I can set it up.

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One Response to “Butler Fire Meeting: We should have stayed home…

  • 1
    September 17th, 2007 07:13

    Thank you very much for your extra efforts in keeping us all informed. I have a place on Mohawk, but live in Hollywood. It is comforting to have access to a reliable eyewitness such as you since news reports never give any useful details on fires like these.