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Socalmountains.com :: Forums :: FIRE DISCUSSION
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I’m so happy they filled all the Private Home Rentals for the weekend

Author Post
Rumor Mill
Sat Sep 12 2020, 04:48AM Email Thread Print View

Registered Member #191
Joined: Tue Dec 05 2006, 06:43AM
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Posts: 3178

My street is packed this weekend. But here is a story and a bit of history from the Old Fire. The only roads left to get out were the Back Grade 18 to Lucerne and 38. A person pulling a boat snapped the hitch in the switchbacks on 18 causing a traffic jam. That made it into an 8-hour drive down 18 to Lucerne.

story from:
[Click Here]

There are three main routes out of the Big Bear Valley, but what happens when one of those routes proves too dangerous for evacuations during a large-scale wildfire?

That question became a reality during the Old Fire, which burned more than 91,000 acres after joining the Grand Prix Fire in October 2003. More than 1,000 structures were destroyed and six people were killed, ranking the Old Fire 11th and 16th, respectively, on CALFIRE’s lists of the 20 most-destructive and deadliest wildfires in state history.

The Old Fire was one of 14 major fires that burned simultaneously during what the U.S. Department of Agriculture later dubbed the “California Fire Siege of 2003.” By the time all 14 were extinguished, 24 lives were lost, 3,710 homes were gone and more than 750,000 acres were scorched.

For Big Bear Fire Department Chief Jeff Willis, the Old Fire is one that’s difficult to forget. He told the Daily Press evacuations were complicated by an influx of people in the Big Bear area at the time.

“The first communities that were evacuated were Lake Arrowhead and Running Springs, and the evacuation route that most chose was coming to Big Bear,” Willis said. “A few days later ... the Big Bear community needed to be evacuated, so we experienced a situation where we were artificially high (in population).”

The three routes out of the Big Bear Valley are highways 330, 38 and 18, Willis said. During the Old Fire, an estimated 80,000 full-time residents were evacuated from the San Bernardino Mountains between Oct. 25 and Oct. 29, according to a 2003 Daily Press report.

Evacuees in Big Bear experienced a 28-mile traffic jam into Lucerne Valley on Highway 18. Willis said that route was shut down, which “forced the issue on the other two” highways.
RELATED CONTENT

FEW WAYS OUT: Read the story on the USA TODAY Network-California analysis that found too few escape lanes for too many people during major wildfire evacuations.

Ultimately, the Old Fire never reached Big Bear and none of the six deaths occurred there, but the small number of routes available for evacuations remains a pressing issue.

An analysis released last week by the USA TODAY Network-California placed the ZIP codes that comprise Big Bear, Minnelusa and Sugarloaf within the worst 1% statewide when it comes to population-to-evacuation-route ratios.

Another community included within the worst 1% was Paradise, the Northern California town decimated by the 153,336-acre Camp Fire that killed 85 in November.

Paradise, as well as Big Bear, Minnelusa and Sugarloaf, are considered very high risk zones, according to the USA TODAY analysis.

Paradise had five two-lane roads and one four-lane road leading out of town, according to an Associated Press report based on the analysis. The Camp Fire forced officials to close three of those routes, further clogging the remaining roads.

Looking at ZIP codes and multiple population data sets, the analysis found, on average, 134 Californians living in the riskiest areas for each lane of traffic going in either direction. Only one out of 20 ZIP codes had more than 313 people living in the riskiest areas for each lane of traffic.

Paradise had more than 1,000.

But some areas, such as Oak Park in Ventura County, South Lake Tahoe in El Dorado County or the Palos Verdes Peninsula in Los Angeles County, have two, three or five times the number of people living in the highest-risk zones, per lane of major roadway out, compared to Paradise.

No other section of San Bernardino County was within the worst 1%, but Caltrans spokesperson Terri Kasinga said the expanse of the agency’s District 8, which includes 49 cities in San Bernardino and Riverside counties, doesn’t decrease congestion during evacuations when major fires break out.

“It actually increases congestion with substantial delays on multiple routes surrounding the incident on both state and local roadways,” Kasinga said. “Caltrans, CHP and other partner agencies provide viable detours during incidents in an attempt to mitigate traffic impacts.”

How District 8′s road infrastructure fares amid fires that prompt evacuations depends “on the location and magnitude of the incident,” according to Kasinga. She said the detours offered prove “sustainable” during large-scale incidents.

During 2016′s Bluecut Fire, which burned 37,000 acres, Kasinga said Caltrans worked with the California Highway Patrol, and the San Bernardino County Fire and Sheriff’s departments as part of Incident Command in addition to San Bernardino County Emergency Management.

“Caltrans has multiple plans to respond to natural and man-made disasters,” Kasinga said, including a Continuity of Operations/Continuity of Government Plan, an Emergency Operations Plan, a Technology Recovery Plan and the Pandemic Response Plan.

“The COOP/COG does not replace any of those plans; however, it complements them,” she said.

Between 80,000 and 86,000 residents in the Cajon Valley, local mountains and part of the High Desert found themselves in the Bluecut Fire’s sprawling evacuation area, according to County Fire and Sheriff’s Department officials.

Spokesperson Jodi Miller said the Sheriff’s Department believes less than half of those residents complied with the evacuation orders. Even so, the “sheer volume hinders getting residents out of the area,” according to County Fire spokesperson Tracey Martinez.

Martinez added, though, that County Fire had an “extensive” plan in place to ensure the timely evacuation of all 80,000-plus residents had they left, as well as three portable shelters capable of housing more than 15,000 people combined.

“One of the arsenals in our tool box is the Telephone Emergency Notification System,” she said. “We use TENS only in crisis situations.”

The system uses listed and unlisted numbers in the region’s 911 database to alert residents of life-threatening emergencies. It’s updated every six months and has placed hundreds of thousands of calls during wildfires and flood events since 2004.

But the 911 database includes only landline phones. Martinez said county residents can visit [Click Here] to register their cell phones. Those without internet access can dial 211 to sign up.

Willis, meanwhile, said at least half a dozen wildfires have posed some type of threat to the Big Bear area in the last decade, meaning the community must be constantly prepared.

He said the most effective approach requires a “holistic” program that starts with his department’s capability, capacity, training and equipment, and includes reducing risks in the community by ensuring residents replace shingle roofs and create defensible space around their homes.

Despite the congestion that resulted on roads, Willis said the Old Fire was a good example of early evacuation orders, which are also crucial.

“California is highly fire prone,” Willis said. “You’re not going to find anywhere else in the United States that compares to California ... so all those things have got to come together.”

Millennia’s sorry to tell you that there is no Santa Clause, no Easter Bunny, No Tooth Fairy, Have a great day
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BurroBurrow
Sat Sep 12 2020, 08:55AM

Registered Member #97504
Joined: Thu Nov 07 2019, 07:32AM
:
Posts: 29
Thanks for sharing. Some very sobering facts and figures and something I would think all BB officials would/should be aware of. I'm not sure what it's going to take to close entry to visitors during a disaster or potential disaster. If this doesn't do it, what will? For what it's worth the problem rental in our neighbor is occupied this weekend. They came blasting in yesterday afternoon. All I can say is kudos to the rental companies that discouraged or actually postponed rentals at this time. Thank you. If anyone knows what companies they are, please consider giving them a shout out.
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Socalman
Sat Sep 12 2020, 03:32PM

Socalman
Registered Member #228
Joined: Sun Dec 17 2006, 07:41AM
:
Posts: 3343
We have stayed away from our part time place just for the reasons above. However we are very close to the Bobcat fire and for the 2nd consecutive day our air is hazardous. It has been bad but now I can feel the effects. Come Monday if we are still hazardous, I will take our chances and head uth.

In 2003 we were up there and left the evening prior, around 10:30pm, to the evacuation order. We went down 38 that time. Our full-time neighbor uth, said we were being a little "over-cautious" when we told him we were getting out. He and his wife spent 6 hours getting down to Lucerne the next day.
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Polar 🌌rbit
Sat Sep 12 2020, 06:08PM
Registered Member #14051
Joined: Thu Mar 16 2017, 06:32PM
:
Posts: 364
Socalman, come on up. It's time to make sure YOUR property is still OK. No obvious smoke, but sky isn't exactly clear. STR will be leaving tomorrow.

Don't blame me! I was left unsupervised!

You can divide the world into two kinds of people: Those who divide the world into two kinds of people and those who don't!
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Mtngrl
Sat Sep 12 2020, 08:05PM

Registered Member #45933
Joined: Thu Feb 21 2019, 03:53PM
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Posts: 32
Something needs to be done. Can you imagine if big bear had to evacuate labor day? To many people for such a small valley. For years it was build build and build. Now look what's happened. The onlyway to prevent such a disaster is to curb the rentals. At least the valley would be quiet once more. That's my ten cents worth.
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SCM ALERT🚨
Oct 20 : 10:26am
@CALTRANS8
We’re here on SR-330 repairing a culvert. Closure will be lifted by 4 pm today. Stay tuned for future updates. #Caltrans8 [Click Here]

MtnBluebird
Oct 20 : 09:51am
Entirely different topic, I have I missed the opening of the annual snow pool?

MtnBluebird
Oct 20 : 09:42am
For comparison, Crestline (nearest official particulate monitor) has recorded a mere 5 days of "Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups". Ozone is a different story...

MtnBluebird
Oct 20 : 09:33am
Mammoth Lakes has had over 10 days of "Hazardous" air quality. It's had an additional 25 days of "Very Unhealthy" and 40 days of "Unhealthy". Basically an entire season of astronomically bad air quality.

SCM ALERT🚨
Oct 20 : 09:02am
KrazyKristen, they should have been out visiting a month ago. They could have gotten the true California Experience

KrazyKristin
Oct 20 : 09:01am
Scheduled Power Outage for Forest Falls (maybe MHV & AO too?) Sunday 10/25 8am to 4pm (which means 9pm in Edison-speak). My guests from Texas will get to experience a true mountain generator day! Yeeha!

SCM ALERT🚨
Oct 20 : 09:00am
Happy Birthday, Debbie Doo! Thanks for all you do for SCM and I hope you are out doing something fun today!

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Oct 20 : 07:59am
If Bishop and Mammoth is anything like it was a month and a half ago, it was clouded in smoke, along with June Lake.

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That is not very strong. Was there damage?

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cricket
Oct 20 : 07:05am
Why is Bishop and Mammoth horrible? What is wrong?

KK
Oct 20 : 06:50am
Up visiting the Sierra’s for a few days. Going threw Bishop and Mammoth was horrible. June lake isn’t nearly as bad!

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Oct 20 : 12:03am
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO:
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