Sunday, November 18, 2018

Wildfire, what are our government agencies and utilities doing to improve response? A lot read about it here.

Smoke follows beauty we said around campfires, if that is so everyone in California must be extremely pretty, it's following all of us. 

Wildfires are bad news every summer in the western U.S.

The sky is once again filled with smoke the fires are 100 miles north, and are burning with minimal controlled. Northern California is on fire again, the wind is up, the air is dry, and the terrain is dried, perfect conditions for these events. 145,000 acres have been eaten up by the Campfire. (It is as of Sunday 11/18/18 55% contained.) The Northern California Utility, Pittsburg Gas, and Electric have developed a new strategy, and I don't blame them. The origin of last years fires are firmly placed in their lap. The cause of ignitions of seventeen of the states 21 wildfires during the 2017-2018 season have been placed on the giant company. Being human we always need someone or something to blame for everything that takes place. Most of the time it is the taxpayers that end up footing the bill. In this article, we will explore the relationship between Wildfires, their possible causes, and what proactive measures are being exercised.

(Follow this Link for insight on Smokey Bears prevention of wildfires tips)

90% of wildfires are caused by humans due to campfires being left unattended, burning of debris, or arson being common sources. Most fires can be traced to the point they originated, the causes are identifiable. Arson is a different story, the perpetrators are very rarely identified, about the only way is through eye-witness accounts. Lightning, machinery sparks, and electrical distribution failures are other common wildfire starters.

Wildfires can start anywhere, the largest of them begin in isolated areas where there are few humans to sound the alarm. Forested areas, grasslands, and residential areas adjacent to isolated wild areas are typical of places where they begin. Discarded cigarettes tossed next to roads cause many fires, as do neglected campfires.

They start any time of the year, although the most common time is during the hot summer months when the landscape dries out. Low humidity, high winds, and hot temperatures are prime conditions for the blazes to start. Winds contribute greatly to the intensity and the speed of travel, the Campfire burning now in Northern California has destroyed the entire city of Paradise.

The wind gusts between 25 and 50 miles per hour during the summer months, winds as high as 80 miles per hour are not real common, however when they do occur the fires are impossible to control. The winds gain velocity when they are directed through the valleys, canyons, and over the top of steep hills.

PG&E has initiated the "Wildfire Center", a new department dedicated to preventing wildfires caused by their equipment. Two days prior to the Campfire starting the Utility issued a warning they were studying if the service would be disconnected. The assumption was by many people (myself included) they had made the decision to do just that. That was not reality, the electrical service remained on, 2 hours before the fire started an interruption in a line close to the epicenter was reported. It is still too soon to commit any resources to uncover the causes, leaving it an unknown if they are culpable. The new Department has been designed to reduce fires, PG&E distributed a statement defining their intent, this is a direct quote as reported on the website.

For your safety, it may be necessary for us to temporarily turn off electricity to your neighborhood or community when extreme fire danger conditions occur. We know how much you rely on reliable electric service and would only consider temporarily turning off power in the interest of safety, and as a last resort. If we need to turn off your power, we will attempt to contact you in advance to ensure you have enough time to prepare. We will also provide updates until power is restored.”
A downpour is a firefighters dream during the fire season.
The dream may come true as early as Monday in the North,
the prediction for Southern California is much more positive.

What does "Extreme fire danger conditions" mean in a real-world situation? Critically dry vegetation, low relative humidity, and a period of high winds. The decision will be the conclusion of an involved discussion including how large an area is affected. It is a step in the right direction if just one wildfire is prevented the new procedure and formation of the Wildfire Center will be well worth the effort. This is the first wildfire season this new program has been involved with, it will get better.

California Fires mission is to prevent wildfires, they are active in a variety of preventative measures of which they undertake throughout the year. Vegetation management, engineering of wildlands before fires begin, along with education and law enforcement are some of the tasks they are actively involved in. Firebreak construction, reduction of fuel, and controlled burning of areas of extreme fire danger conditions.  Cal Fire clears brush in communities, roadsides, and evacuation routes. Planning comes into play as well, emergency evacuations must be planned and practiced well before an event occurs. The implication of the State Fire Plan, fire investigations to determine the origination and cause, arson investigations, and supporting local governments wildfire planning are all included under their umbrella. Cal Fire is active in the education of the public through social media, as well as school presentations, fair exhibits, flyers, posters, television commercials, and any other means of informing as many citizens as possible. Their efforts to reduce the outbreak of fires, making the programs well worth the expense, time, and energy.

The state of California has spent $250 million over the past 10 year period dedicated to cleaning up the wildlands. That's a fairly large investment, one that we can only assume has reduced the damage of the fires. That is impossible to judge, we will never know how much it helped, but it most certainly must have. A bill has been introduced in the state Legislature to allocate $750 million over the next ten years, it may be raised to $1 billion. The Federal Government will reimburse the state $388 million. It's a good commitment at $75 million per year.

The U.S. Forest Service program is called "The Firewise Program", a multi-agency department created to assist homeowners, community leaders, planners, and developers. Organizing and working together in their effort to protect people, property, and natural resources from the wildfire outbreaks. The Firewise program encourages wildfire readiness, encourages wildfire conscience community designs. The recommendation of the use of fire-resistant building materials, wildfire resistant landscaping, and prevention methods. The forest service is active in every state of the Union, aviation, communications, fire science are all part of the service. The "Ready, Set, Go!" program enables residents to prepare for wildfires, knowledge of what to do when an evacuation is in order, and conducting an organized successful evacuation.

(Follow this Link to learn more about the "Firewise Program".)

Wildfires in the west affect all of us living here, during the summer months the air is constantly filled with smoke. It is late in the season, zero rainfall has created extreme dry conditions, with the introduction of the "Diablo" (Northern Calif.) and "Santa Ana" (Southern Calif.) winds combining to become a perfect storm. Yesterday the sun was obscured by it, each day that passes introduces another that is more smoke filled. Yesterday visibility was 1/2 mile, today it is 1/4 of a mile. The degradation of the air is evident, the smoke has nowhere to go. (This morning visibility is 50 feet, but it's mixed with a measure of fog.)

Fire prevention agencies have reached the point that the wildfires are accurately predictable, under certain conditions which PG&E defines as "Extreme fire danger conditions", and recognizable to most people residing here. They have achieved such a high level of prediction that with the Campfire predictions the fire started shortly after it was issued. (within 24 hours)
San Francisco, 11/15/2018

I wonder how many are started by an arsonist, a man was arrested last year for starting the fire in Southeastern Colorado from a campfire left unattended. The Concord fire of last year was started when a vehicle pulled off the road experiencing trouble, it ignited a blaze. We know they are coming, its good to know that there are public and private entities working together to reduce, and hopefully at some time put an end to them. Arson is a subject for another blog, my next one.

Link to a commercially available Wildfire Emergency Kit.)

Thank you for reading and sharing this article, leave a comment or story, and take a look around to make sure you are in a good position if a fire begins near you.


Friday, November 16, 2018

the Air Quality Index explained as well as 10 precautions to take when in a wildfire smoke filled area.

Smoke from the Campfire blaze is shrouding San Francisco.
Smoke has invaded the entire San Francisco Bay area, it is gathering in the valleys trapped by the mountains and an air dam at the Golden Gate. A high-pressure area forms at sea just west of the city, normally it brings in warm temperatures and no wind in that position. It does drive the Diablo wind further north, right where the Campfire is burning. It takes it's position several times a year, during the summer months high temperatures are the immediate result. But it presents a different situation to the north, and it's not very far it causes winds 100 miles from the Bay. This configuration will continue according to the weather forecasts until Thanksgiving.

It is an intense shroud of smoke, during normal situations the visibility is at least 20 miles, today it is about 400-600 yards. It is getting worse, today is the unhealthiest day as of yet since the Campfire has started. San Francisco and Sacramento are each experiencing an unhealthy air quality index rating of over 300, normally during a wildfire it is half of that rate. The index was created for reporting on the daily air quality, it is listed on the weather page of the local newspaper, and mentioned during the weather reports on television as well. Air Quality Index tracks five major air pollutants, ozone on the ground, the number of particle pollutants, Carbon Monoxide, Sulfur Dioxide, and Nitrogen Dioxide. In this country, ground-level ozone and particulate matter are the greatest threats for those with compromising health issues. The AQI is based on a scale of 500, the higher the number the higher the threat. A reading of 25 designates the air as being "Good", whereas an Index number of 300 earns a "Hazardous" rating, there are six categories:

1) 0-50 symbolized in green the air quality is "Good", air quality is at a level that poses little or no risk.

2) 51-100 is designated in yellow and is a "Moderate" range. Air quality in this range is considered to be acceptable, those more sensitive to air pollution may suffer some symptoms.

3) 101-150 Color is Orange having an "Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups" label. Those of us who are in sensitive groups may exhibit some symptoms, but the majority will be unaffected.

4) 151-200 Red means it is "Unhealthy. Everyone may possibly experience adverse effects on their health, heart patients, and those with respiratory illnesses should stay indoors and when not should wear a respirator mask.

5) 301-500 Maroon in color and has the highest rating and title "Hazardous". The most unhealthy rating and the most dangerous, the incidences of stroke, heart attack and respiratory failure increase during this alert range.

The Good and Moderate index ratings are safe for everyone, working outdoors is OK as well as all other outdoor activities. When the ratings enter the 101-500 ranges persons with health issues are at extreme risk. Levels above 500, they do occur, are outside of the Air Quality Index's sphere, definitely, the precautions for the "Hazardous" category should be adhered to.
The air quality index is used throughout the Country.

Three groups of people are considered to be at the greatest risk when in a wildfire smoke area:

* People diagnosed with Heart disease, Lung illnesses, Asthma or Chronic Bronchitis.

* Older Adults due to them having an increased risk of heart and lung diseases are more likely to be affected by the smoke. It may be just enough to initiate a coronary issue or a flare-up.

* Children's respiratory systems are developing they breath more air per pound of body weight than adults, as well as spending more time out of doors places them in the high-risk category.

We can take some measures to reduce our risk from the smoke;

* Keeping track of the local weather reports, normally wildfires take center stage during the news broadcast, pay particular attention to the Air Quality Index report. Be familiar with the manner it is reported, most stations have their own unique way of describing their broadcast areas, learn them.

(Link to an explanation of the AQI)

* Visibility can serve as a guide, we all know how far we can see on a clear day, and we notice when that visibility is restricted, if we pay attention it will give us an advanced warning. Most communities have in place monitors that measure the distance that is visible, we hear them when the fog rolls in, snow storms, and of course wildfire smoke. Visually determining the cleanliness of the air is a viable way to determine if we are at risk.

* Secure all of our doors and windows with the goal of keeping the air indoors as clean as possible. The air conditioner may be run but close the outside air intake and make sure all filters are clean which will prevent the contaminated outside air from entering. If an air conditioner is not available and it is too hot to remain indoors, seek a designated evacuation center or leave to an unaffected location.

* Don't burn candles, have a fire in the fireplace, or run gas stoves as they will increase the indoor pollution. Vacuuming will cause particles already inside the house to become airborne adding to the particulate matter in the room. Smoking will also increase the level of contamination, it's a good time to quit.

* Construct the wildfire safety zone around the home if the residence is in a rural area. A 100-foot area cleared around the house is recommended, placing a sprinkler on your roof will help protect it from flying embers and will keep the pollutants down helping to keep them from entering through windows and air leaks.

* Prevent the wildfires from starting, when we are camping, hiking or having a picnic be certain to build the campfire in a safe manner, upon leaving them make double sure they are completely extinguished. Check with the Rangers or local fire department if a campfire is allowed.

* Follow the Doctors orders, plan to evacuate if you are an at-risk person.

* Dust mask are for blocking large particles, the paper mask is slightly better than nothing but should not be relied upon to block all particles from entering the respiratory system. They do not block the PM10 of which smoke is mostly made of, our best choice is to purchase a "half face mask" with appropriate filters. By all means, if the paper mask is all that is available wear one.
The N95 mask, some have mesh some do not, they are not the best protection
however, they are better than being without one.

* If told to evacuate, go, do not hesitate or argue with the messenger he is there to save our lives.

* Purchase air purifiers, it is not necessary to have one that purifies the entire house. All it has to do is clean the air in the room (s) that are occupied, calculate the square footage of an area easily blocked off and make certain the filter is able to process that much air. It is less expensive to purchase units that will clean a small room if more than one is to be used. One that will purify 150 sq feet is fine for a bedroom, when ganged together two will purify 300 square feet for 1/2 the cost of a 400 sq ft unit.

* All smoke ends up on the ground, protect yourself after the fire and the smoke event. When involved in the cleanup efforts continue to wear the respirator, gloves, goggles, long pants, and all other safety equipment.
The 3M "half mask" positively eliminates the small particulates contained in smoke.

Wildfires are increasing in the number of occurrences, the intensity of the fires, and the area they are engulfing producing more smoke than ever before. That smoke is a combination of the gases released by burning trees, grasses and other fuel in the forest and the structures they burn down. It irritates our eyes, changes our voices when it infiltrates our respiratory systems, and worsen chronic conditions such as heart and lung disease. The wild areas are bone dry and will remain so until the rains begin, the chance of them starting are at an extremely high level right now. Be attentive of warning of wildfires, instigate proactive measures to protect yourself all year round. Take the warnings seriously, these fires are fast moving and terribly destructive. Take some actions to protect yourself from the smoke.

Thanks for reading and sharing, when in a wildfire area we must practice caution in everything we do from parking on the shoulder of the road to starting a campfire, we can do a lot to mitigate the dangers. Thanks again.


Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Wildfires give us one minute to escape with our lives, this is how to get out in one minute.

                                  Failure to Plan is a Plan to Fail.
The Campfire yesterday 11-13-18

Thirteen wildfires are now burning throughout the state of California, some on their way to containment, others cannot be approached yet. Fires of the magnitudes of these currently burning are unprecedented, the state is experienced with them, however, they continue to become more intense, larger, and unpredictable. They burn fast, one report stated the Campfire was burning the length of 80 football fields a minute (4.5 miles 7.25 Kilometers) 90 miles per hour (145 kph). Once the fires reach a home the residents have one minute to get out and be on their way to safety. We hear and read a lot about being prepared for evacuation and all of the gear we need to grab before we go, it can be overwhelming. By the time a wildfire reaches our doorstep, it is far too late to decide what to take along that is of the utmost of importance. We don't have time for that, there is only time to save our lives. Our thinking needs to be adjusted a little bit, and in some cases a change of thought is monumental.

(Follow this Link to FEMA's page on Wildfires)

We should accept the fact that a one minute escape is possible when pre-planning is performed. It will take a paradigm shift, the new planning and preparations will become a major part of our lifestyles, some tasks we perform every night, others twice a year. The one-minute escape plan precludes our normal family disaster planning, it is in effect a plan "B" which is relevant to other natural disasters as well. We won't have time to secure every valuable possession in the home, but we will be able to save ourselves. When is the appropriate time to begin to think in the one-minute escape mindset? Today, we will begin.

Use a FEMA template and put together a family disaster plan, the full-scale one includes every item on the list. This is one of those things that doesn't change, we still need a written plan, when tasks are written down we have a tendency to remember them better. The plan will include all of the issues we should be paying close attention to when an emergency begins, some disasters we will have time to exercise all of them, others as in the one-minute plan, won't. One of the most critical reasons to make a plan is to practice it with the family and other household members. During times of stress, we will follow our instincts, and after practicing our emergency plan it will be committed to memory, becoming instinctive. Every item will not be remembered during a catastrophic event, but enough of it will be to enable our escape. It will bring a sense of order to a confusing situation that many of us have never experienced before.  Even at that, the disasters that call for an emergency plan to be constructed will give us about 5 minutes to prepare for what is on the way, but it will not address the need to get out right now.

(FEMA's family planning Link)

Included in the plan should be an out of area contact number to leave messages. Everyone in the area will be on their cell phones when the event is in full swing, the local lines will be jammed up, after a short while the cell towers will not be working. Texting may work, it doesn't use as much airspace compared to a cell phone, most likely all text lines will be jammed as well. Not so with out of area numbers, choosing one out of state may be a wiser choice, mine is a brother in Minnesota. Call once, then after 4-5 hours leave another message and pick up those that are for you.

Now we can get into what makes up our every night tasks that make up our one minute plan:

Charge the Cell Phone every night before retiring, plug it in before bedtime allowing enough time for it to become fully charged. Every member of the household should do likewise, and charge the auxiliary charger as well, they are available online and in most big box variety stores. The charger need not be fancy, one that will provide 3 charges is fairly standard unless it is convenient do not worry about the charging cords and box, just charge the unit.

Make sure it is charged each evening before bedtime.
Keep a leash handy for the family pets, whether it is a dog or a cat panic will set in for them. Dogs have a tendency to panic, causing them to run fast, and far, most of them will never be seen again. Cats, on the other hand, are a mixed bag, some panic and run, others will stay close to the house and hide, often they survive. It is much better and safer for the animals to keep them on a leash, there is no time to place them in a carrier, we'll be lucky to have time to put the leash on them. Place the restrainer in a pocket as well, that way we know where it is.

Prior to bedtime set up the bed to enable an escape, each family member must do it. Next to the bed set up a complete set of clothing, shoes (leather are best), long sleeve shirt, cotton slacks, socks, a hat, and jacket. In the pockets fill them up with your cell phone, charger, a pocket knife, the family disaster plan card, and car keys. (placing a set of keys in one pocket of everyone's jacket is a good idea) Clothing with a lot of pockets will allow more items of importance to be included, in a family of four that is a lot of pockets and a lot of articles. Medication must be in one of the pockets, it is advisable to set up a weekly pill organizer, put it in a pocket. In another pocket sunglasses and readers may be placed, another of the rear pants pocket place your wallet. In the one minute plan, we don't place an emergency kit next to the bed, we have another spot for it.

It's often difficult to do and remember but it is important to keep the vehicles fuel tank 1/2 full, it will be enough to get us far away. Normal maintenance at the prescribed intervals is sufficient to be sure the car is in suitable condition to escape. The vehicle's trunk is the spot for our supplies, whether it is an emergency kit or a supply put together by us makes no difference. This is where to put the case of water, some granola bars and whatever equipment we each feel we will need to survive. There is a good chance the vehicle will be destroyed and we will have to run ahead of the flames, it is best to expect that scenario.

Learn how to open the garage door when the power is out, normally there is a rope that disengages the drive from the door. That rope has a red handle, pull it then drag the door towards the wall, pull hard at first then it will fly open. Closing the door after the car is out is best practice, but that takes a few precious seconds which could be the difference between life and death. Besides the house is most likely a complete loss so why risk our lives to preserve the adobe for a few more minutes.
Pull down and then pull away from the door, it will take an effort to
get it moving.

Write a one-minute escape plan also, events will unfold too fast to read it, but with practice, it will be second nature. Reading through the plan once a week at first, continuing with monthly readings will commit it to memory, simply walking through the plan will take less than a minute after it has been done a few times. Talk about it, practice it and fix any discrepancies before it is needed, remember the one-minute plan is merely to get us out of the door, everything behind that door is dynamic and unpredictable. Decisions will have to be made within seconds, the pressure will be immense. What we have in our pockets and on our backs is all we will escape with, our material items will be lost, hopefully, the homeowners will cover it.

People with disabilities and the elderly have special needs, one person in the household must be assigned to assist them. I am disabled, my walking distance is 50 feet, that's it, we also have my 95-year-old mother in law with us. Writing down a one-minute escape plan is of the utmost importance to a household like ours. But we are fortunate because both my mother-in-law and I are mobile, my scooter is just outside the door. Other households have a situation where a person is bed-ridden, these are the truly at-risk people. In these cases, the one-minute plan turns into a one-day escape plan, as far as wildfires are concerned. When the weather bureau predicts high winds and dry conditions it is usually made public several days before the wind event occurs. Our electric utility will begin to investigate whether we are at risk for wildfires and if the service will be secured, if the prediction is ripe for the fires to start, perhaps that is when we should leave.

(FEMA's page on the evacuation of disabled persons. Link )

The spirit of the one-minute escape plan is to get out of the house, at that point nothing else matters. That is also the point we accept that all is lost, to leave my guitar behind will be a life-changing event, but not as much as the wildfire. The guitar stays, there were a million made all those years ago, more are available. This is where reality hits us hard, just the thought of losing everything is tough to think of, but it must be accepted. Our priorities are of the living kind, Children, Wife, Mother-in-law, Pets, and then Me everything else is on the back burner and will be lost. There will be plenty of time to lament over the unbearable loss, but you know what we will survive. The object is to realize the threat of a flaming infernal traveling towards us at breakneck speeds demanding our reaction to be swift and sure. Developing a one minute plan will serve to address that situation, indeed just realizing it is a very real situation is a giant step forward, it doesn't promise we will all escape but it will surely increase our chances.

Thanks for reading and sharing my blog, the human suffering continues there are 13 wildfires burning (Link) as this is being written making it impossible to keep up with them all. People are dying, the property is being destroyed, and the emergency response is exemplary, there is no comparison to any other actions being performed. These people are amazing, they are actually fighting a war when the conditions don't allow them to fight the fires they are saving people, what an amazing group of people. The suffering of the victims makes my problems insignificant. Thanks again.


Monday, November 12, 2018

Woolsey and Camp out of control there's a fire up on the Mountain, we can't escape, but we can be blamed.

                There's a fire raging up on the Mountain and it's not good.

Wildfire at Camp Road.
Evacuation has been ordered in Southern California for 250,000 people extending from Thousand Oaks to Malibu. The Woolsey fire has burned an area the equivalent in size to Akron Ohio as of Sunday night November 11, 2018. It is racing towards the ocean with little to stop it, the Santa Ana's are fueling it and driving it on.

The deadly Campfire in Northern California is much larger than the Woolsey fire devastating Malibu. The entire city of Paradise has been destroyed, 27,000 residents have been displaced in a rapid and unprecedented fashion. Search is on for 110 missing persons, 25 people have met their demise while attempting to escape the flames. The Northern California equivalent of the Santa Ana's, the Diablo wind is the demon driving the largest wildfire in the history of the state.

The causes of these two monsters will be discovered, whether it be arson or a natural cause at this point it doesn't much matter. PG&E (Northern and Central Californias electric utility), sent a message to the PUC, (Public Utilities Commission) stating that 15 minutes before the fire started an incident was reported, the damage was sustained to a transmission tower. The company has a policy put in place after last years devastating fires stating the parameters they will follow to shut down power in threatened areas. PG&E did not shut down service, contrary to popular belief, some took it for granted they would.

Both fires have claimed many houses and structures, the fast-moving flames did not give the victims any time to escape. In fact, the same stories are coming from both locals, people running for their lives abandoning everything. Some victims were caught inside their cars trying to get out when the flames overcame them, there was nothing they could do. Others have been found in their bedrooms, one thought is the flames came upon them so rapidly they hid under beds and in places they thought would be safe. The fear had to be overwhelming, possibly causing panic, it's hard to imagine a worse way to die.

Homes of every size shape and design have been destroyed in both catastrophes. They all have at least one thing in common, I suspect they share much more, every one of them was someones home. Malibu is one of the most exclusive places to live in the country, many people in show business reside therein glamorous estates, some of the most expensive there is. The homes in Paradise are middle-class adobes, it was a beautiful mountain town full of good, happy, giving people. The cost of housing is more in line with a state like Wisconsin than its neighbors to the south, the city of San Francisco. At the end of the day, none of it matters, home prices, income, or what level of society they live in. A homeless person is every bit as devastated by a loss of everything as is the person with millions of dollars worth of keepsakes. Relating their experiences on the news broadcast, every one of the people made similar statements, "the house will be replaced, insurance will cover that, but, it's the photos, and heirlooms, the stuff that can't be replaced that causes the most heartache".

The size, shape or value of the home doesn't matter to a wildfire.

A friend in Corpus Christa, Texas told me the same thing after his house burned to the ground. He had purchased the home two months earlier when due to an electrical problem a fire started, burning to the ground everything was lost. He lost an old pet dog he had with him for years, that he said was extremely difficult for him to endure.

Three houses next to my house caught on fire one March night 6 years ago, two burned completely another suffered substantial damage. They also stated the exact same that it was the "stuff" that could not be replaced causing them the most grief. I was lucky, the wind was not blowing in its normal direction and spared our house, however, it taught me a life's lesson. Be prepared to get out of the structure as quickly as possible.

We have about one minute to escape a fire, especially during the holiday season when a pine tree is standing in the living room. I'm sure it's impossible to decide what if anything to grab and escape with when faced with a towering inferno. When a person has nothing a toothbrush is a treasure. There are some things we can do to prepare such as:

1) Lay out clothing next to our beds, long pants, shirt, socks, and shoes, items that are easy to put on. Leave the wallet and car keys in a pocket.

2) If a person has an online business secure all valuable information on the "cloud", it won't be lost and grabbing the laptop will no longer be a temptation.

3) Have an escape plan and practice it, humans will resort to training when faced with an emergency.

(Follow this Link to FEMA's planning guides)

4) Keep supplies in the trunk of our vehicles.

5) Keep 1/2 tank of fuel in the vehicle, at least.

The preparations for such a disaster must be structured in a way that makes perfect sense, the expectation that someone is going to be mindful enough to grab anything of importance is unrealistic. When the firefighter is pounding on the door at 2 am and when the door is opened he is outlined with a raging infernal, faced with that situation who would be able to think or plan? To be a Monday morning quarterback is useless, nobody has any idea what they would do until it happens to them. Even at that, it is my assumption that no matter how many times a person endures such a calamity there is no getting used to it, there is no new normal.
Gee that's easy to do.

In the same line of thinking it does no-one any good at all to blame the victims, it commonly comes from the political side of our society, these events are no exception. For a person to blame the fires on a lack of effort on the state to keep the forest floor clear of debris, that person has to live in an alternate reality. It tells me that "person" has never spent any time in the mountains or the wilderness, this is a wild state. Most of the locations these fires start are in the middle of absolute no-where, inaccessible to any vehicle or firefighting equipment. I have backpacked all over the Sierra Nevada's, yes there is a lot of dead and dry underbrush, yes it would help if it was not there, but how in the world could it be removed? Even if it was in an area that had some sort of access the cost of implementing the removal would be enormous. There is one issue that overshadows all others, one that the accuser has no idea at all about although he should, the Federal Government owns 60% of the wild space in California. It is his duty to allocate the funds and lead the charge to clear it up if that is what he thinks (with zero research) the causes are. It is more than maddening that during the middle of two huge disasters he does not even acknowledge the victims other than placing blame on them. We as Americans and decent human beings do not think like that, the progression is:

* Deal with the emergency, people first everything else second.

* Find the missing, comfort the people.

* Investigate to find the causes

* Make a policy to address the cause and render it moot with planning.

I don't know why people begin to point fingers immediately when an incident occurs, it's my idea that the person has never experienced anything in their lives that impacted them, or anything they were not protected from. It's an elitist position, with an inbred idea of superiority to everyone else, it bolsters one's ego. These are disasters of biblical proportions, and being a self-professed Christian he should know what he is doing and saying is crosswise to the teachings of any follower of any religion.

Thank you for reading and sharing my blog, the human suffering is above all else the tragedy involved here, so many lives lost. So many lives impacted it is like an octopus the tentacles are many and far-reaching. Everyone I talk to has a friend or relative that has been displaced by not only these fires but all of them. What affects the people anywhere in California affects us all, and it would be good if he realized that and sought a bit of humility versus machoism. Thanks again.


Saturday, November 10, 2018

Why are wildfires so common in the Western States during the fall? Here is the answer

More Wildfires start during October than any other month.

That smoke flows south when in the north, and north when in
the south.

Dark clouds are filling the sky in Northern and Southern California, wildfires are burning out of control. There are many occurring now throughout the state, my count is at 9 right now, but there appears to be more. Of these fires some are nearly contained, others raging out of control, people literally running for their lives. Abandoning homes, cars, and anything too heavy to carry they are escaping with only their lives and what they are wearing. The Campfire which destroyed the city of Paradise is traveling as fast as 80 football field lengths per minute, 8,000 feet per minute.  By my calculations that is 1-1/2 miles per minute, or 90 mph (2.40 kpm), at that speed if it were at the dead end of the road I live on, 1 mile away, we would have less than a minute to evacuate. This is just the beginning of the disaster however if the wind as it is predicted to do dies down overnight the firefighters may have a chance to make headway. This is the most challenging time of the year for the wildfires to start, in fact, the month of October is the month that this state experiences most of the years' events. Contrary to what most of us want to believe fall is not a safer time, especially without rain. (The wind did not let up, the Campfire continues to rage violently)

Two wind conditions affect the west coast during the Autumn, the Santa Ana winds in Southern California and the Diablo winds in Northern California. Brought on by atmospheric conditions, in the north, it is a lingering high-pressure area just outside the Golden Gate. In Southern California, the wind is caused much in the same way channeling it south along the western slope of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. The gusts have been recorded at 30-50 miles per hour (65-80 kilometers per hour), whipping through the deep canyons and up steep mountain slopes the breezes commonly top that speed. A reason for the unpredictability of the blazes is the varying winds which are capable of causing the flames to change directions, speed, and intensity in the blink of an eye. As I am writing this the wind speed on top of Mount Diablo (It is outside of my big window, about 15 miles distant) is 72 miles per hour (116 kph), it is prime for a fire. I will be watching that range of mountains for any sign of trouble, I have spotted them from my house before. (Mount Diablo is shrouded with smoke it is no longer visible.)
Mount Diablo last spring.

I looked out the window one afternoon last year and saw a puff of smoke on the side of the Mountain, my initial thought was someone has started a big piece of machinery. It was a wildfire the cause was obscure, which most likely means it was natural causes. Within 10 minutes 1/4 of the slope was engulfed, it did not become a major fire due to the rapid response of the firefighters. Winds are just one of the contributing factors another is rain.

(This Link leads to an explanation of a safe zone around the home.)

Rain is a cause, it's hard to believe but both ways rain is harmful, too much too early, too little too late. We have had no ran in Northern California since May 2018, Southern California has had some, about 1/8th inch, the ground cover is tinder dry. It doesn't take many words to explain why dry undergrowth is another culprit in causing wildfires, that is the result of heavy rains. The state had 5 years of low rain totals prior to the winter of 2017-2018, then the clouds opened up, enough for the Governor to declare the drought was over. He might have spoken too soon, it may have merely been a relief. I often think the word drought should not be used when it is applied to the weather in the Western States. Reversing the roles of drought and good water years we would be better off referring to the dry years as "normal" and the wet years as anomalies, which they are. Droughts are normal weather here, there is no way to get around it, I decided that when I first moved here. Without fail when the wet season ends within a month or two another drought is declared when actually it should be referred to as Normal. But in any event, we had rain 6 months ago encouraging the grass to grow, and grow it did. The ground was rejoicing in having moisture, the speed of the growth was spectacular, the inspectors were out hanging notices to alert property owners to clean up their lots. In the backcountry, where Paradise is, the undergrowth grew unabated. Unchecked except in those places that the property owners constructed safe zones around their homes, even at that I wonder how effective the zones are at keeping the flames at bay when the wind speed is that high.
A photo of a fire zone.

A friend that lived through the wildfires that took place by Shasta last year told me the safe zones are highly valuable in keeping the flames away, his grandson and daughter both lost their homes to the fires. He told me that the properties surrounded by a fire cleared area, for the most part, survived the fire. It was moving so fast the flames followed the fuel around the house, embers did fly all over the places, but they set up a second line of defense. Sprinklers on rooftops extinguished the embers, the people soaked their roofs. His son did as well, but it was not a successful effort, although it was very much worth doing.

In the blog I posted Nov. 8, I stated that the at-risk areas for wildfire are close to our house, in fact, the border is about 400 feet away. It's just on the other side of the slough, it ends at the Levee, our island is a safe zone surrounded by at-risk areas. I'm not sure of the reason for that, the center of the island is uninhabited with overgrown brush, blackberry's and swamp willows which are all highly flammable. The reasoning may lie in what this island is made up of, peat moss, it burns really well. We had a wildfire 7 years ago, it went underground and became a peat fire. Two of my neighbors extinguished it after a 3-month battle and a lot of heavy equipment. The fire area first must be flooded, then trenches dug to allow the water to flow into the peat. The operation needs to follow the hot section closely constantly digging away at the subsurface. Those types of fires burn under roads, parking lots, and even homes. Luckily this one was in a desolate area with few outbuildings, and no homes, there was a storage yard but most of the property being stored was moved.

The wind tonight will reach velocities above 30 mph, and gust possibly as high as 80 mph. The forecast is that the low-pressure area over Nevada will move to allow the high pressure to move in reducing the winds. When the high-pressure area moves and covers Northern California the winds reduce to near zero, in this case, the prediction is 2-3 mph. Still, the fires are monsters to be brought under control, placing too many people at risk. As always the human suffering is unbelievable, every one of the residents of Paradise has lost everything. The first responders are dedicated to saving people, but it doesn't stop there they rescue animals as well.  The firefighters are risking their lives, it seems one is lost putting out each of these catastrophes. People manning the relief stations, and those making sure the fire crews eat and have a place to rest are indispensable as well. These events are like an octopus, the tentacles are far-reaching and involve literally thousands of people dedicated to helping humanity. The victims have nowhere to return home to, they have lost everything, heirlooms, homes, and in some cases pets.

Thank you for reading and sharing my blog, is there an answer to wildfires? Is there a proactive way to deal with them? I certainly don't know the answer, is it easier for fire starts to be controlled than for hurricanes or tornadoes for example? I think not, but is acceptance of them being a new normal an adequate response? All I have is questions, no answers for any of these. Thanks again for reading and sharing.


Thursday, November 8, 2018

Inspections after a catastrophic event 5 items that kick them up to a high level, fires, hurricanes, tornadoes, read this.

High winds are predicted to begin tonight and come to a conclusion in two days. 

Elevations above 1,000 feet (305 meters approx.) are expected to experience the brunt of them. We have had no rain yet in Northern California, Oregon and Washington State have their risk is lower. High winds, dry underbrush, and 80-degree weather are reasons for the electrical utility (PG&E) to shut down the service, which they will most likely do tonight. 50 mph winds, (80.5 kph) are capable of whipping up some horrendous wind/firestorms. Our small Island is not at risk but the map shows just across the slough is, that's only 500 feet away from us. Sometimes predictions are just a tad technical, those maps are hard to produce, but to include this side would involve coloring it red. I sometimes question if the warnings being broadcast are a good practice, the predictions are accurate but I wonder if they inspire arsonists. The forecasters walk a thin tightrope, they perform a great service for us, but still, it conjures up my curiosity.

After waking this morning my thoughts were on investigations of the wildfires, floods, hurricanes, and everything involved in them. I have conducted investigations but in the whole scheme of things they didn't have much impact on anything except what happened to a failed machine. (How to conduct an Investigation Link) That was my job for many years, I was a welding inspector (in-house) for a while, but my bread and butter was machinery inspections and testing through vibration analysis, heat profiles and ultra-sonic readings. It was pretty straightforward, the analytical vibration monitor I used was possible only through a very large algorithm, the complex math calculations performed for even one reading would take days if not weeks to complete. The inspections I performed almost came up with their own results, all I had to do is read the printouts and graphs, I did have to know how inches per second and hertz related to one another and how they both related to machinery components. But that was math, it's actually fairly straightforward, just time-consuming. I would classify that activity as a low-level type of investigation, it aided my knowledge, the company's budget and the crew's direction in repairs.
It's hard and demanding work, as in this photo of a school fire
it is extremely important to investigate for answers.

The curiosity of How, What, When and Why of the high-level investigations that are ongoing now, mostly in various levels of government is interesting. The congressional hearings and the special prosecutor are such high-level inquiries it would take me a long time to understand all of the particulars involved.

I am more interested in the investigations of lower governmental level incidents, wildfires, hurricanes, tornadoes, and the like. In particular, I am curious about how they are structured, what the first question is of the first person interviewed, and how the direction of questioning is determined. In a disaster scenario, I suspect the first item would be to determine the original failure that occurred. In the case of a wildfire, it may be "where did it originate?" A dam failure may very well be a question such as "what failed first?" A hurricane may be addressed with an inquiry of "what can we do to prevent flooding from happening again?" Every inquiry must start with an initial question, choosing that question is key to a successful discovery.

For a while in a heavy industry there was (and may still be) a catchphrase "root cause", what is the "root cause?" The root cause is the one failure or event that started the chain of events causing the problem, everything with machines does not culminate in a "catastrophic failure", one reason I call them low-level investigations. So what makes a "high level" investigation? In my opinion, there are certain events that take place moving it into a higher level.

1)  Large infrastructure failure such as a dam failure, bridge collapse, or an event causing the destruction of property.
Oroville Dam is nearing completion of repairs for this year.
As I understand it this is phase 1, next spring phase 2 begins.

2)  Loss of human life, one life lost is worth every penny of an investigation. I had a friend who was working on top of a tin roof of an outbuilding near a plant we were employed in. It wasn't a really tall building, about 40 feet high, falling through a skylight that was covered with dust he apparently did not see it. He fell to his death. The investigation involved many entities, Cal-OSHA, insurance company's, police and fire as well. One life lost is worth all of the effort made to prevent it from happening again.

The University of Florida discusses fall procedures and prevention Link.

3)  House, business and vehicle fires, the investigation is performed for the purpose of insurance fraud mostly, most of these fires are started for monetary reasons, to collect the insurance payments.

4)  Wildfires are investigated due to the great loss of property and lives, the most important reason to investigate is a reported 80% to 90% are arson started.

5)  Withheld information, an investigation may begin after it is determined public officials attempt to cover up an illegal event of that may have led up to creating a catastrophic ending.

These five instigators of investigations have at least one thing in common, all of the remedies are extremely expensive, some causing the perpetrators to spend a little alone time in jail. The first two, infrastructure failure and loss of life may or may not be human-caused, the remaining three the majority of times are caused by humans.

#1 may be due to design flaws, or the structure merely failing from being worn out.

#2 is possibly caused by human negligence, the industry has a saying "all deaths by falls are preventable." That is what the investigation centers around, saving lives.

#3 These fires are approximately 45% -50% arson, for monetary reasons. I saw on the  "American Greed" TV program, a man and woman decided to burn down their home. They disconnected a 1/2 inch diameter gas line that fed their fireplace, then turned it on filling the house with very explosive natural gas. In the microwave, they placed an item that would burst into flames, (the investigation never determined what that was). The timer was set on the microwave oven, and they left home, after several hours the house exploded. The explosion killed a neighbor lady instantly, her husband laid under the wrecked home while a fire raged toward him, he also expired. It destroyed two other houses and blasted windows out of many others. Greed was the driving factor in that incident, stupidity was the vehicle. has a paper on structure fires, interesting to read Link.

#4 An estimated 90% of wildfires are started by arsonist, very few of them are caught, making profiling extremely difficult.

#5 Commonly theft of funds or equipment is uncovered, again Greed is a motivating factor, generally only stopped due to the criminal being caught. It's pretty common, it seems every week another incident of this type of crime is reported on. I worked with a man who was the manager of a division of a company I worked for, he was caught stealing over $100,000.00 worth of equipment. He was directing his employees to load tractor trailers with equipment from a feedlot down the road from our plant. The truck driver was arrested in Wyoming on his way to Nebraska to sell the stuff, he didn't know what it was all about. To shorten a long story, the manager was arrested and made to pay restitution or go to prison. He made the decision to pay restitution.
If you make the bed you gotta sleep in it.

What are the steps involved in an investigation?

1)  Definition of the problem, if an idea of where the investigation is headed isn't determined, the first question will be meaningless.

2)  A determination by a Research Company or Governmental policy, determining if the incident is illegal or against protocol?

3)  Development of a plan, and sticking to it, a framework of the investigation must be created and followed.

4)  Interviews of everyone involved, any witnesses with knowledge of the incident will create more questions and further investigation.

The last steps consist of:

5)  At some point, a conclusion must be made and recommendations for further investigations or legal action.

6)  A determination for corrective action if it is nefarious activities are uncovered.

7)  Compilation of notes and the creation of a formal report, every detail must be noted.

The spirit behind an investigation is to determine what can be done to improve the outcome when faced with similar situations, the noble side of the equation. Most investigations succeed in accomplishing that, on the long winding road fault is normally assigned and remedial action is taken.

There are however many times there is no blame, some things just happen for a variety of reasons. Other times there is blame, and in those cases, an action may be taken that is seen as being "unfair" or not reasonable, due to the perpetrators being "crafty" or really good at covering their tracks making proof difficult to achieve. In many of those cases, the coverup is so immense once it is discovered the fall is swift and far, the coverup is, in fact, more evidence of wrongdoing than the events leading up to the crime.

This is an interesting list of "Confidence" schemes people have been duped into Link.

Investigations inspire good things to happen most of the time. After major Hurricanes Florida and Louisiana improved their building codes and infrastructure requirements to minimize the destruction experienced during them. The results were;

Florida all new homes are required to be built to withstand a Catagory 3 Hurricane, that's why the residents kept saying we don't leave unless it's greater than a Cat. 3. I was really curious why I kept hearing that on cable news and weather, it makes sense to me now. Personally, I would still head north at the first indication of one of those monsters heading towards me.

New Orleans built up the levees and installed huge water pumps capable of evacuating water from the flooded city.

In the early 1900's Corpus Christi built a wall encompassing a large portion of their endangered island since then it has saved countless lives.
The seawall on Corpus Christi was constructed after a major
Hurricane killed thousands of residents at the beginning of
the 19th century.

If it were not for surveys, inquiries, and investigations it's hard to imagine positive steps being enacted. If a catastrophic event was not the cause of the investigation inspiring a public works project, investigative work must still be performed to determine if the improvement is worth the cost and the desired result will be realized. It's just another type of investigation which ends up being the cause of building code upgrades and equipment like breakwaters and pumps being installed.

Thank you for reading and sharing, there is nothing wrong with "taking a look at things", which is in itself an investigation, or asking the initial question which I see as being "what in the heck happened here?"


Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Traveling for the holidays, driving through the mountains this time of year,12 things to check before leaving home.

 Snow sneaks up on me, Winter is expected.

October is an odd month, on the Delta, it has the potential of being the most beautiful time of year, it can be a nasty unpredictable month as well. This year it was particularly nice, the slough was smooth as glass for most of the month, the prevailing wind was mostly dormant. It's a mixed bag, allergies enter a new phase, the sun begins to set earlier and rises later as if being a warning of the coming winter. The first few days of November have been equally nice as well, giving the feeling it will remain like this for a long time, some of us settle into a zone of false security. Most of the time that warm fuzzy feeling is fleeting, but we can still get lulled into it.

It becomes a danger when we begin to make travel plans that take us through the mountains, or further north. November 1st is the beginning of the rainy season in the West, it may be a deluge or nothing at all as it is during drought years. Advertisements appear in newspapers, television ads, and on the radio depicting snow at some of the mountain ski resorts. For some, it is a beck and call for them to head to the hills and be the first on the slopes. Others imagine how nice it would be to spend a weekend or longer in a log cabin with a fire in the hearth warming against a crisp autumn night. Believe it or not, surfers head to the Southern California Beaches, storms in the Pacific bring waves, the weather in San Diego is exceptionally nice in November. These destinations all have at least two common entities, it is early winter, and travel through the mountains is part of arriving at the destination.
Ice on roads is not always accompanied by snow.

Motor trips in the mountains are precarious during the best weather, even then the main question is "will the weather hold?"  The unpredictability of the changing conditions is the unknown that can be the defining factor between a successful excursion or one that experiences delays, breakdowns, and ultimately throwing in the towel and returning home. It is worth noting that even with the best planning the conditions may change to the point of ending the trip. Planning is the most important task to undertake prior to heading out of the driveway, knowing what may potentially happen is paramount for getting ready to leave. No matter how many times we have made the trip or how many times they were uneventful, the past is not a prediction of the future. The only prediction past history is accurate about is we do not know for sure what the conditions will be like. Putting together a list of what may happen is the first step of the journey, below is a list of some of the items we should be certain are in top condition prior to the trip.

1)  Check your brakes, windshield wipers, defroster, heater, and exhaust system on your vehicle, they all need to be in top shape. Test the battery, replace it if the condition is questionable. Checking the battery is more critical if the ambient temperature when you leave home is warm, and the expected temperature of your destination is cold. If it is more than two years old replacement should be seriously considered.

2)  Add fluid to your wiper reservoir, when possible purchase a product with anti-icing additives. Have the radiator serviced and tell the mechanic you are planning a trip in the snow or cold weather.

3) The tires need to be inspected and replaced if they are worn below specifications, whether they are new or acceptable after being checked, make sure they are inflated to the correct level before leaving home.

4)  Purchase a new set of chains that fit the tires on the vehicle perfectly, learn how to install them and the three alpha-numeric codes which are:

R-1 Chains are required, snow treaded tires are allowed, (MSS is noted on the sidewall).

R-2 All vehicles must have chains installed with the exception of 4-wheel drive vehicles with snow tires.

R-3 All vehicles must have snow chains installed, there are no exceptions.

5) Keep ice scrapers, a broom, shovel, and a sack of sand in your trunk. Expect ice to form on the windscreen which needs to be scrapped off, do not drive with ice covered windows, keep the defrosters on to eliminate the interior of the car fogging up. When stopped overnight, or during a snow squall the car may need to be swept off with the broom, and if we get stuck the sand will help us gain traction. Hand cleaner and a towel should be added as well, tossing in a few rags won't be a mistake.

6)  All important water needs a space, enough for at least three days. Extra clothing, food, blankets, a flashlight, and a warming device. The heater may be as simple as a propane lantern, (add an extra propane cylinder), or a clay flower pot with its drip tray and a candle will serve also. Coffee and a cup to put it in is at the top of my list, propane coffee pots are available making one a viable choice.
A Photograph of a typical roadside assistance kit.

7)  Have an extra key in your pocket or wallet, as a matter of fact giving one to each member of the crew may be a good idea. The number of motorists locking themselves out of their cars while installing chains or helping someone else is surprising, imagine waiting for a locksmith to show up while waiting locked out of the car.

8)  Don't rush, allocate plenty of time to arrive at your destination, the unpredictability of the weather is again the deciding factor, we have no control over it. Start out early and pay attention to the weather predictions on the radio and the conditions around you.

9)  Use the 30% rule for fuel, keep at least 1/3 of the tank full of gas or diesel, when the level reaches the 1/2 level stop at the next fueling station and fill-er-up. Notably when traveling stretches of highway such as I-5 on the west coast, or I-80 east and west across this vast country. While at the service station ask about the local conditions and what to expect further down the road.

10)  Slow down, although snow chains do help they do not eliminate all sliding hazards, ice-glazed roads and the steel chain links compliment one another at the worst possible times. Avoid sudden stops, do not slam on the brakes, once a motor vehicle begins to slide on ice it is impossible to stop it, holding the brakes down may cause more severe skidding.
There is no "Good Enough" in the mountains, all equipment, and components
need to be in tip-top shape.

11)  Watch for heavy equipment, snow flurries limit our line of sight to the point of a range of mere feet. Snow removal equipment has flashing lights, however, with the limited visibility they may be obscured and not be visible at all. Other traffic on the road is even less noticeable, keep the headlights on, no need for the bright lights as the lows will be seen. Be observant, keep your head on a pivot, ask your passengers to help out, the more eyes the better. Drive slowly, there may be cars passing you, just let them, we will arrive safe, the speeders are showing their lack of experience driving in the snow.

12)  If the automobile stalls stay with it, conserve fuel while maintaining the warmth in the car, running the engine for 15 minutes then letting it rest for 1/2 hour is an effective pattern. Carbon Monoxide is a dangerous reality when stranded in the snow, make sure the exhaust pipe is not buried, keep it clear. While running the motor open a window, not completely down, one inch from the top will do but remember CO2 is heavier than air. It's heavier than air and can gather on the floor of the vehicle, don't run the engine with all of the windows rolled up tightly. The same practice when using a propane lantern is advisable as the flame will use up the oxygen in the cab.

A word or two about chains:

Road signs are erected about one mile from the chain checkpoint, that is the point to stop and install the chains, without them installed and attempting to cross the checkpoint will earn a fine.

When chains are installed the road signs for conditions change constantly and quickly, one requirement remains constant, the speed limit. Posted along the highway will be caution signs stating "speed limit, 25 mph", in some places they may read 30 mph.

Pull off the road to install the chains, do not stop in the roadway blocking traffic, a flat level surface is best. Remember the road surface is slippery, other drivers may not be able to see you, and it's possible to slip and fall in front of another vehicle.
Infographic explaining how to install snow chains.

Contractors not employed by the Highway Patrol or state install chains for a fee, they are not allowed to sell or rent chains. If you use the service write down the installers name, company name, and badge number, that information may be needed later for any misunderstandings.

When the time arrives to remove the chains drive beyond the signs designating the directive stating "End of Chain Control", technically stopping before it may earn a fine also.

Road conditions may be checked at these Caltrans numbers: 1-800-427-ROAD  (1-800-427-7623)

This Link leads to FEMA's tips on preparing for winter storms.

It may seem intimidating to read this list but it actually isn't when taken in a step by step method, starting to assemble the safety supplies one hour before setting out is a mistake. Plan ahead, most of the supplies recommended for inclusion in the trunk can stay there as a permanent survival kit. Commercial kits, or a kit constructed individually work equally as well, the critical task is to prepare for the worse and hope for the best, have supplies for longer than is expected. I am an advocate of a seven-day kit for each person, the most that can happen is there are some items left over, the worst would be if it was needed and is not available.

Thanks for reading and sharing my blog, when traveling from a perfect day into blinding blizzard precautions must be taken. With a bit of planning, emergency supplies, and self-awareness each trip will be successful, the main reason we go is to have an enjoyable time, after all. A little planning will not impact that all, other than adding to the enjoyment. Thanks again.