Local Firefighters Go South to Help

The horrible fires that rage in Southern California caused evacuations, destroyed homes and terrorized towns and neighborhoods – many belonging to friends and family of Eastern Sierra residents.

Images in newspapers, on the internet and Southland TV told the story of rampant fires – as many as a dozen from Los Angeles to San Diego areas. Reports spoke of Santa Ana winds driving flames through Malibu and south.

In Malibu, 16 homes, a church and historic castle burned. In Orange and San Diego counties, a jail, hospital and nursing homes were evacuated.

The cause of these terrible blazes was under investigation. The horrendous winds served to spread whatever started.

From the Eastern Sierra, Nancy Upham from the Forest Service confirmed that resources from here did go down to the Southland inferno. Upham said even though many fire crews had left for the season, the Inyo Forest was able to send 5 engines and one water tender with a task force leader and trainee. Two of the engines came from White Mt. Ranger District, one from Mono Lake, one from Gull Lake and one from Mammoth Lakes.

Governor Schwarzenegger had called a state emergency and Inyo-Mono’s Congressman Buck Mceon was enroute today to the fire-torn communities in his district.

McKeon pledged to draw on any federal resources available throughout the process and in days to come. The Congressman said he would work with the Governor’s office and local officials. McKeon said that two of the 12 massive fires moving across the state are in his district – one in Santa Clarita and one around Castaic, Val Verde and Hasley Canyon.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency, FEMA, has authorized use of federal dollars to help fight the Buckweed Fire near Mint Canyon Road and Sierra Highway in LA County.

More than 100,000 acres have burned and containment was minimal.

Local folks with friends and relatives who have already lost structures pointed to the serious need to continue to watch fire in the Eastern Sierra.

One Mammoth resident implored locals and visitors not to toss cigarettes.

We did experience our major conflagration in Independence and Big Pine in July. Plus, the big fire Near June Lake. Since then, we have been very fortunate to remain virtually fire free.

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