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The Neighborhood Watches

Posted on October 23, 2007 in Santiago Fire

If you want to start at the beginning, click here.

Smoke from one of the arms of the blaze, breaking out along Glenn Ranch Road. Once this has burned through, there’s nowhere for the flames to go except purposefully towards Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church, one of the refugee centers.

The Santiago Heights community is threatened by fire. These flames are moving very slowly because they are going downhill.

A few licks of flame from the previous picture got onto a facing slope. It took the new fire about five minutes to climb from the ravine at the bottom to the tip of the hill. Fire, I was told by one of my neighbors, travels sixteen times faster uphill than down. I can believe it. Good physics: heat rises.

The lack of information leads to speculation. We know that the fire was started by arsonists, but who? “Towelheads,” said one man with a white cairn terrier. “Yeah, must have been towelheads,” said another. “I’d bet it was.” My thinking is that if it was Al Qaeda, they would have claimed responsibility for it by now.

While we were watching from our vantage point in the Canyon Country condominium complex, we saw sheriff’s cars run up every street in the housing development depicted. It was “What the hell are you still doing here?” time. One SUV came out. The firemen were ready to break out the shovels and the hose.

The blaze seems to be headed towards the backcountry where it will putter around for days. It’s probable that once it is finished with Orange County, it will hop the Saddleback and burn on down into Corona, Riverside County.

There’s a ridgeline near here where several people built houses. The road is named the Modjeska Grade. Not so long ago, they were overwhelmed by the fire and you could hear the propane tanks exploding.

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