Wednesday, February 24, 2016

In Brief...World News Review: California Burning

An interesting article from about California. This follows this post about attacks on the police. This follows this post about the "Beast." For a free magazine subscription or to get the books recommended for free click HERE! or call 1-888-886- 8632.

As we go to press, the firestorms that ravaged Southern California unchecked for several days are finally under control. A virtual army of firefighters 15,000 strong waged war on the monstrous fires. To give you an idea of how large a commitment of personnel and equipment that represents, that's 4,000 more people fighting the California fires than there are British troops on the ground in Iraq.
I am writing this in Phoenix, Arizona, where the skies are obscured with smoke and ash from the massive volume of debris roaring skyward carried by the normal winds and by the weather the storms themselves generate.
This is the worst disaster ever to hit the already-beleaguered state that has a $38 billion deficit. Nearly 3,500 homes were destroyed, many of them worth several hundred thousands of dollars to more than a million. The burden of so many large claims on the pool of insurance funds will send shock waves through that industry.
The rebuilding will challenge Governor-elect Arnold Schwarzenegger's management skills. Elected largely on his promise to attract business to the state to invigorate revenue growth, instead of by raising taxes, he often added a footnote: “Unless there is a major disaster like an earthquake.” In spite of the proportions of this disaster, he continues to promise he will not raise taxes. We will see if he is able to keep his word.
Undoubtedly, some television network or a movie studio is archiving video clips and has people at the drawing boards to rush to make the California Firestorm of 2003 movie. There is a story to be told, for sure.
One element is the arsonist(s) who started several of the blazes. Journalists are already calling it a terrorist act, whether it turns out to be domestic or foreign. The Arizona Republic reported this summer that an al-Qaeda detainee told of a plot to ignite a series of brushfires in the western United States.
Conditions could not have suited their purpose better. The first fires were in the San Bernardino area to which San Diego firefighters committed crews. Then a hunter lost in the wilderness southeast of Julian, a tourist gold-mining town now famous for its apple orchards, lit a signal fire that quickly exploded into a fire of incredible ferocity. Covering 20 miles overnight, it swept down the slopes and into the small town of Santee on the outskirts of La Jolla. My son and daughter-in-law are on campus at the University of California at San Diego. The fire showered the campus with ash. They were told to pack their car and to be ready to leave on a moment's notice.
But, they couldn't get out of the San Diego area to go east or north, because Interstates 5, 8 and 15 were all closed by fires! The winds changed overnight, and my children—along with hundreds of thousands of people in the same area—didn't have to flee, but the lesson was sobering. Smoke closed down the airport. Some could escape by going north on the Coast Highway, but it would accommodate only a fraction of the Southland's population, and they would eventually encounter another fire zone.
Much of San Diego's firefighting force was north of the city, fighting those early blazes. They couldn't get back to protect their own city for a while!
One of the largest population areas in the United States was virtually sealed off and threatened with disaster in a matter of a few hours, literally overnight. Who could imagine such a thing being possible?
Many lessons will be learned, such as allowing the Forest Service to trim the forests, so overgrowth doesn't fuel such fires, as well as lessons in managing people and materiel in a crisis on this massive a scale. Our hearts and prayers go out to all who suffered loss.
But will Americans learn, I mean really learn so they never forget, how truly finite and vulnerable we are? That all we know as normal can be turned inside out in mere moments? That those pursuits and possessions that demand most of our time and attention can evaporate seemingly instantly?
Will the shock of this catastrophe turn the hearts of people to true values, and away from those material possessions that can burn up? As in all disasters—and I'm reminded of similar firestorms in Arizona last summer, which we reported on in World News and Prophecy —people are calling on God for help and mercy. How soon will they forget Him, put Him back in an “open only in case of an emergency” box?

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