Also see: California Fire News Updates
We have asked this question before:
1389 Blog has been tracking this issue, and we will continue to do so as we await a more definitive answer.
Others are asking the same question too:
Fire officials in Orange County said today the Santiago Canyon Fire is an arson and offered a $50,000 reward to find the arsonist.
Officials said the massive fire, which has caused an estimated $10 million in damage, had three separate points of origin. Two were on one side of the road and the third was on the other.
“Whoever did this knew what they were doing,” said Kris Concepcion, a fire authority battalion chief, who noted the blazes traveled three miles in just the first 20 minutes on Sunday.
Authorities are reporting five deaths in the blazes so far.
The National Terror Alert Response Center report said, “We are NOT implying that the California fires are an act of terrorism; however, the threat of pyro-terrorist attacks pose a significant risk to the U.S. and the fires in California and Greece earlier this year should be a wake-up call.”
The men were reportedly in their 20s or early 30s, and one was using a sophisticated news media-style camera.
When firefighters attempted to talk with the men, they reportedly jumped into a waiting car and sped off.
- The Amboy Times: Southern California Fires
- Right Truth: Terrorist talked about arson as weapon in U.S.
- Homeland Security Money Improving California Fire Agencies
- Yahoo! Answers – Open Question: Are the cause of the California wild fires an act of terrorism?
- California Fire Battalion Chief – Whoever Did This Knew What They Were Doing
- California OES (Office of Emergency Services): Emergency and Disaster Related Legislation Chaptered After June 21, 2007
- Suspected California arsonist shot dead
- Officials: Arson Behind Santiago Fire
- Setting Fires in California
- The Wild Fires of Pyro Terrorism
Anyone with information about the cause of the Santiago fire (Orange Co) is asked to call a tip line at (800) 540-8282. If you see something, say something!
An American Muslim in Charlotte, North Carolina, named Samir Khan, chimes in on the great is Allah punishing the infidels in California debate:
Most Muslims in America shy from discussing the natural disasters that occur to America especially in light of Allah’s anger. They get this strange idea somehow that Allah’s wrath and anger has nothing to do with the great natural disasters…..
1389 wants to know: Has the FBI gotten around to asking Samir Khan and his associates just how much they know about who set those fires in California?
Past evidence of arson and pyroterrorism:
- Many California fires believed to be arson (October 30, 2003)
- FBI: al-Qaeda detainee spoke of fire plot (7/11/2003)
Are drought and dry winds to blame?
The answer? Yes, but only up to a point. Drought provides the dry fuel for widespread fires, but it doesn’t provide the trigger that ignites the actual flames. Of course, there’s always room for research to improve the state of the art in firefighting, and for organizational improvements to deploy firefighting resources as efficiently as possible. But none of that explains what ignited the fires in the first place!
- Fabled Santa Ana Winds Fuel Wildfires In California
- Resources ‘outstripped’ battling California blazes
Population, terrain, and fuel:
In densely populated areas, more homes and other buildings are exposed to destruction by fire. It is also more difficult to evacuate threatened areas, to protect existing structures, to create firebreaks, and to do controlled burns to remove the dry fuel that allows wildland fires to go out of control.
- Homes Spared, Lost in Fires’ Random Destruction
- The Great Divide – Man and Nature: Learning Brushfire Lessons From America
With bushfire season fast approaching, a contingent of Australian and New Zealand firefighters have recently returned from North America, where they took lessons from their counterparts in managing extreme bushfires.
The Department of Sustainability and Environment’s Richard Teychenne was a member of the group who journeyed from Canada, down the west coast of the USA and into Mississippi, in the south.
“The tour went for about 32 days, we travelled about 60,000 kilometres, took about 16 flights, three bus trips and ended up back at home about a week and a half ago,” Richard told ABC Gippsland’s Gerard Callinan this morning.
. . .
He said issues of population also hampered American firefighters’ ability to conduct fuel-reduction burns in fire-prone areas.
“With a population of over 300 million, compared to Australia’s population over 20 million, the issues that they are facing is how can they actually do fuel reduction burning?”
“In LA they haven’t done burning in two years,” Richard said.
- Fox News Reports, Networks Ignore Consequences of Not Clearing Brush
Fox News, just as Glenn Beck previously, picked up on an observation that the rest of the mainstream media largely ignored: brush left in place under environmental groups’ pressure fueled much of the fires in southern California.
Copycat arson or accidental fires:
According to the article, this particular individual has admitted to starting the Agua Dulce fire, which consumed more than 38,000 acres and destroyed 21 homes.
There were numerous separate fires in California; no one is suggesting that all of them were ignited in the same way. One possibility is copycat crime, which is likely whenever high-profile lawbreaking has been reported or even suspected.
In addition, when weather conditions facilitate the rapid spread of fire, it’s all too easy for someone to lose control of a small bonfire or debris fire that was never intended to spread. One carelessly tossed cigarette butt or match can be enough to start a major fire.
Innovations on the horizon?
HOT SPRINGS, S.D. (AP) – It was the most intense fire ever recorded in the Black Hills National Forest, but nearly all homes coated with a slimy gel were saved while dozens of houses nearby burned to the ground.
The gel was a super-absorbent polymer that can hold many times its weight in water and clings well to vertical surfaces and glass. It is mixed with water and then can be sprayed on homes with a truck-mounted hose or a backpack apparatus, or dropped from a plane.
The substance is relatively new to firefighting, having been developed about a decade ago, and is not widely used. But some firefighters who have tried it are impressed, saying it offers longer-lasting protection than the foam retardants that have been around for many years.
More Fire News and Information:
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