SoCal Fire Check-In (December 2017) December 6, 2017 8:55 AM   Subscribe

Well, here we go again: Southern California is ablaze. A roundup below the fold. MeFites, please check in.

The Thomas Fire in Ventura County has been the most prominent, consuming 65,000 acres (so far) with zero containment. The fires began Monday in Santa Paula and have since spread through Ventura (pop. 100,000) to the Pacific Ocean. The City of Ventura has since declared a curfew “to protect all residents of the City of Ventura and to prevent crime such as looting in evacuation areas.” California Governor Jerry Brown has declared a state of emergency in Ventura County.

The Creek Fire began in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains and has spread over 11,000 acres near Sylmar and Lake View Terrace, including parts of the Angeles National Forest.

The Rye Fire in Santa Clarita began on Tuesday morning west of Valencia and is now at 7,000 acres, with 5% containment.

This morning (Wednesday), the Skirball Fire broke out. The Sepulveda Pass at Mulholland Drive and Sunset Blvd. is on fire, leading to the closure of a major L.A. freeway artery (the 405) and mandatory evacuations in Bel-Air. The 50-acre fire is edging towards the Getty Center and Skirball Cultural Center.

Santa Ana winds are expected to pick up to between 30-50 mph over Wednesday and Thursday.

Stay safe, my fellow SoCal MeFites, and please share resources and information.
posted by mykescipark to MetaFilter-Related at 8:55 AM (33 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

There's a post on the blue about these fires, which might be a good place to put these links too.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 8:56 AM on December 6, 2017

Ah, blast. I've been spending all my time reading the news and not on the Blue. Sorry for the double.
posted by mykescipark at 9:09 AM on December 6, 2017

It's fine, there's some division about whether to post stuff like this on the blue or the gray, and it's not always clear which is the better place. I initially suggested when the fires started that first post go on the blue instead of the gray, but as the fires are continuing to grow and affecting more Mefites it becomes more likely that people will want a MeTa check-in anyway.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 9:55 AM on December 6, 2017

Some extra context for those who haven't seen the other thread, UCLA is directly across Sunset Blvd from Bel Air.

There's also some concern about black (ie possibly hazardous) smoke coming from the area around Rupert Murdoch's burning $30M house/winery compound.

The 50-acre fire is edging towards the Getty Center and Skirball Cultural Center.

Garcetti just confirmed that the fire is 125 acres now. It's dryer today than yesterday, and the winds will pick up later.

NBC Anchor: If you're looking for Megyn Kelly, check these channels.
Narrator: No one was looking for Megyn Kelly

posted by Room 641-A at 10:03 AM on December 6, 2017 [3 favorites]

Gina Austin (@dobieblue) is tweeting and retweeting a ton of info about places sheltering animals and also supplies, etc that are needed.
posted by Room 641-A at 10:26 AM on December 6, 2017

My family is in Santa Barbara, Ventura, and the L.A. area, and last I've heard they're all safe. If anyone needs refuge, MeMail me and I'm sure I can find some accommodations.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:41 AM on December 6, 2017 [2 favorites]

My apartment's in West LA, and my work is in Santa Monica, so the smoke and the smell aren't fun, but I'm good for now. I'm eyeing that Skirball fire nervously though. The wind getting worse doesn't seem good.
posted by yasaman at 10:46 AM on December 6, 2017 [1 favorite]

My apartment is in West Hollywood, work is on the Sunset Strip. Air quality is bad, but we are fine. Partner works at UCLA so we are worried about that, but so far so good.
posted by Space Kitty at 10:52 AM on December 6, 2017 [2 favorites]

Looking for an Ambrosia Voyeur and contraption to check in, please. (They're in Ventura, but not in the hills/canyons last I heard.)

Stay safe, folks.
posted by loquacious at 11:19 AM on December 6, 2017

I'm safe; I work at UCLA. I was so proud of myself for getting out the door early on my usual two-hour commute… so early that I was already only fifteen minutes away from campus when I got the email telling my team to go work from home today. GRAR. I then drove all the way back home.

FYI, is the official website for UCLA emergency-related news, if folks are worried about people here.
posted by culfinglin at 11:21 AM on December 6, 2017 [4 favorites]

(and I see contraption's post in the blue. Goddamn, I didn't think they'd evacuate Ventura itself, usually it's just the hills and canyons and stuff. Good luck!)
posted by loquacious at 11:25 AM on December 6, 2017

I'm twitter friends with Ambrosia Voyeur and she's fine, though evacuated.

I am in the Valley, and if I can see the plumes from Rye and Creek and sometimes Thomas. I'm concerned about air quality getting bad mostly, but I'm about 2 miles from 118 in Porter Ranch and it has already briefly caught on fire twice yesterday, which would very quickly create a pretty serious air quality issue if it starts racing up those hills.

And getting out of here...if things started getting bad, the whole valley will instantly gridlock, even if the 405 and 118 weren't in trouble. We have a friend in another part of the valley that could take us, assuming that was any better, but we've got three elderly dogs who would need to be transported in two cars and I could easily imagine spending hours in the car in the smoke, which I'm not sure would be preferable to hunkering down. My husband is working in Calabasas this month and I sent him off this morning with emergency supplies and components to make a reasonably comfortable car or office floor sleeping arrangement, either for himself or a coworker if they get cut off from getting home.

It is super hard to concentrate on anything. We're in the middle of a few-hour semi-lull in the 50-70mph winds that move these fires around (and sometimes start them, it's so dry and static-y), and when they pick back up they're unsettling and a constant reminder that the next fire could start any minute. It's hard to sleep when the Santa Anas are back on their bullshit anyway, I finally got enough white noise going to drown them out last night but that reminds me I need to move the doorbell ringer into the bedroom just in case we get door-knocked to leave.
posted by Lyn Never at 12:40 PM on December 6, 2017 [5 favorites]

Some good news about the Getty. NBC reporting that it was built to withstand fire (and quake) damage. Galleries, have special air filtration, etc. I assume there is a massive vault built into the mountain.

Being this far west, I feel like I'm as safe as could be, but all it takes is an ember or two. I posted a picture of the ashes on out roof, which is also unlike anything I"ve seen. The eerie thing is, there are sirens in my neighborhood all day and night. It's mostly the paramedics, and sometimes SMFD, but I haven't heard a single siren all day because they're probably all fighting fires. I think I've heard a few scoopers flying by to grab water.

I'm concerned about air quality getting bad mostly

AQMD has declared the air unhealthy in the basically the whole region:

Areas of direct smoke impacts and Unhealthful air quality include portions of:
 West San Fernando Valley (Forecast Area 6),
 East San Fernando Valley (Forecast Area 7), and
 Southwest Los Angeles County Coastal (Forecast Area 3),
 Northwest Los Angeles County Coastal (Forecast Area 2).
posted by Room 641-A at 1:20 PM on December 6, 2017 [2 favorites]

Mods, I'm going to use this MeTa to request that if my comment in the politics thread asking people not to take joy today in Ruper Murdoch's home burning is deleted, then the off-topic comment/noise should go, too.
posted by Room 641-A at 1:55 PM on December 6, 2017 [1 favorite]

People are gonna keep reposting that Rupert Murdoch thing. I'd deleted it a few earlier times with actual expressions of joy, and that current comment is the least-joyful/most plain-factual version so I decided to leave it and just point people to the fire thread.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 2:20 PM on December 6, 2017 [1 favorite]

Then keep deleting it. Murdoch's home is an ember away from UCLA, and the FD is worried about potentially harmful black smoke coming from the property. If you posted a note telling people to stop posting the link maybe people would stop posting it. Or let people come into one of the two fire threads and see if the joke is still funny it there. Yeah, lol warming globing.
posted by Room 641-A at 2:24 PM on December 6, 2017

I mean, it's totally off topic. Isn't this what that massive politics thread Meta is about?
posted by Room 641-A at 2:26 PM on December 6, 2017

I am in Forecast Area 7 on the AQMD map. The edge of the mandatory evacuation zone is just a few blocks away, so I decided to stay home today. So many of the 210 off-ramps on my usual route home are closed that I didn't want to be unable to make it back for our cat if our building had to be evacuated while I was at work. My husband went to work today (downtown) so as not to miss an important meeting, so I am waiting to hear that he's on his way home after it ends.

It is super hard to concentrate on anything.

Yeah. I've been puttering around the house, unable to focus enough to follow a podcast. Said cat is keeping me company as I hit refresh on the evacuation map. It's probably a poor time to do it, but I've been using the time to reread materials on emergency preparedness and make to-do lists and update the short list of what to grab if we have to go right away. That's about all I'm getting done.
posted by Anita Bath at 2:45 PM on December 6, 2017 [1 favorite]

(On that comment in the USpolitics thread -- here was my thinking. It's not offtopic to be mentioned in the politics thread, because it's about Murdoch and his baleful influence on GOP policies that will exacerbate these and similar fires, so it's fair for commenters to feel like it's the kind of thing that can be put in there briefly, being about the face-eating leopard type horrors wrought by rightwing ideologues etc. It's just tacky/insensitive today, and reasonable people can disagree about whether there's a non-tacky way to bring it up right now while the fires are still going (some will say no, some will say yes and maybe even it's imperative to bring it up in the moment). At any rate, I agree it shouldn't be joyful and it shouldn't become a Thing in there; I figured the best-case scenario was a quick factual mention and then pointing people to the fire thread. Your comment came in after my note, and I deleted it, which is the normal practice. Just now I undeleted your comment, since it's now sufficiently far along that it won't spark a bunch of responses.)
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 2:58 PM on December 6, 2017 [2 favorites]

LobsterMitten: MetaFilter's Standard of Fairness™
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 4:16 PM on December 6, 2017 [1 favorite]

Lyn Never and anyone concerned about evacuating their anImals:

Lina Dorado
Replying to @nytimesarts
Via: @AHWFoundation
For those in the Mulholland & the 405 freeway area - if you cannot take your animals, please contact us & we will come get them.Or msg me on our animal line through text - 424 248-7458 -Marc Ching #LAFires #SkirballFire #RyeFire #ThomasFire #VenturaFire RT

If you're out of their area they still may be able to help

LM, I appreciate you restoring the comment. My feeling was with both should go or both should stay. I give everyone joking the benefit of the doubt and assume they didnt realize the danger, or that this was just affecting some rich aasholes who are rich, or that other MeFites were also in danger from the same fire that took Murdoxh's house. I agree it's not so much about whether it was on topic, but surely wait till the fire is at least 1% contained.

Also, I'm pretty cranky after being locked in my airless-yet-still-smokey apartment for two days.

Be safe everyone, it's probably going to get worse before it gets better.

On preview, lots of iPhone typos I just can't deal with now, sorry.
posted by Room 641-A at 7:56 PM on December 6, 2017

I am down in the Escondido area - we're safe for now and if any Mefite needs a place to be that's a ways away from the fire, please message me - I've got a couch, and I'll feed you pasta and cookies.
posted by FritoKAL at 11:48 AM on December 7, 2017 [1 favorite]

AQMD Zone 8 here. It's not too bad here, the winds seem to be favoring blowing everything away from us for once. We're fortunate in that most of the foothills between the Creek fire and me burned in the Station fire.
Any MeFites stuck on the east side of the 210 and want a place to rest, hit me up.
posted by ApathyGirl at 12:04 PM on December 7, 2017

Progress in SD overnight; Lilac's holding at 4,100 acres lost: "'Thankfully, the wind died down and we could get a lot of work done,' said crew chief Bryan Carter." Also, Two firefighters were injured, one of whom suffered a dislocated shoulder but returned to duty after getting the shoulder back in place, officials said.

Designated shelters are not allowing pets inside (the Humane Society provided some crates to house them outside the facilities), in case that makes a difference in your household -- if you're at the edge of a possible evac zone, you may want to leave earlier and head to a pet-friendly hotel.
posted by Iris Gambol at 10:39 AM on December 8, 2017

So here we are again, but not quite so close to the heat so far. We were right next to the just-turned-mandatory evac area for the Lilac fire last night, and family circumstances being what they are right now, decided to hole up overnight in possibly the worst hotel ever for a ridiculous amount of money. Peace of mind was had, if not sleep. I'm spending today watching updates from home. SDG&E is cutting power all around us. Car is still packed. I am hoping we will sleep at home tonight.
posted by moira at 11:55 AM on December 8, 2017

From above, for animal info I noticed Gina Austin (@dobieblue) is also tweeting info about the Lilac Fire. (I don't know her, I just stumbled across her from fire stuff. Also, she hates Trump.

I guess the winds have shifted because I just got another smoke alert for SM.
posted by Room 641-A at 12:03 PM on December 8, 2017

The winds shifted this weekend, making it smoky into Santa Barbara and even San Luis Obispo, while the air was clear in Ventura this weekend, according to my parents.

The Thompson Fire is coming up through the southern parts of Santa Barbara County. Here's the official mandatory and optional evacuation zones, in Google Maps.

Luckily it sounds like winds are dying down, but the week-old Thomas fire still threatens the coastal enclaves of Carpinteria, Summerland and Montecito. The optional evacuation zone is just a few blocks from my parents house, and our old house is just inside the mandatory evacuation zone, in an area that burned down a few years back.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:07 AM on December 11, 2017

My friends and their toddler and cat are evacuating/have already evacuated Santa Barbara proper, not wanting to wait for official warnings.
posted by showbiz_liz at 10:55 AM on December 11, 2017

The Rye Fire got within a few feet of Wolf Creek Brewing (which is literally as far as you go in Rye Canyon) in Santa Clarita, but I rode my bicycle up there yesterday and the beer is safe.
posted by sideshow at 6:01 PM on December 11, 2017

In all seriousness, during the day it was easier to see the Thomas Fire all the way up in Ventura than it was to see the Rye Fire right down the road. Although, at night you could see the flames from the Rye Fire up on the ridges somewhere near Val Verde.
posted by sideshow at 6:04 PM on December 11, 2017

Illegal campfire caused ‘Skirball’ blaze that torched homes in Bel-Air, officials say

Homeless encampment. Maybe lets get homeless people a place to eat.
posted by Room 641-A at 4:51 PM on December 12, 2017 [1 favorite]

Evacuation orders lifted in Santa Barbara County as crews tame massive Thomas fire -- and 60% contained, as of this (Dec. 21, 2017) morning!
posted by filthy light thief at 1:55 PM on December 21, 2017 [3 favorites]

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