What Do YOU Think About How OC Handled the Santiago Fire?

Remember what happened last October when a fire broke out in OC’s mountains? Remember the dark smoke enveloping the entire county? Remember all the families that had to be evacuated from the canyon communities? And remember how state & local government responded to the wildfire?

Tonight, Orange County Fire Authority will be holding a special meeting to discuss lessons learned from the Santiago Fire. OCFA will be going over everything done to stop the fire last fall. Oh yes, and they’ll be discussing what can be done better to fight the next massive wildfire.

But you know what? Seeing this announcement got me thinking about last fall, when the fire was threatening so many of us. What did we do right to save people’s lives and property? What did we do wrong to allow the fire to go on longer?

What do you think about how OC handled the Santiago Fire? What impressed you the most about our brave firefighters? What government agency disappointed you the most? And overall, do you think the county did a good job in fighting the fire?

I want to hear what you have to say about what you remember from the Santiago Fire last fall. Do you think OC handled the threat properly? And do you think we’ll be ready when the next big wildfire hits? Go ahead and have your say.

  4 comments for “What Do YOU Think About How OC Handled the Santiago Fire?

  1. March 27, 2008 at 11:34 am

    Well, I think my thoughts from last fall as published at Calitics still said it best:

    How Anti-Union, Anti-Tax OC Conservatives Defeated Adequate Fire Protection in 2005

    The OC Register Responds to Calitics…by Reasserting Failed Conservative Ideology

    I am very interested to see what the OCFA has to say today about the Santiago Fire. Especially in the broader context of the state budget, where the same OC conservatives who helped prevent the OCFA from getting more funding are now trying to close down schools. The Santiago Fire is as good an example of any of the high costs of low taxes.

  2. March 27, 2008 at 11:47 am

    What I don’t understand about this is that our tax dollars are supposed to go to protecting life and property. Have I gotten something wrong, isn’t this a very fundamental tenant of Republican ideology?

    I checked your post Robert and the OC Register admits that there was a large surplus of funds that could have been used to purchase the equipment that was need in case of just this kind of event. I am not an advocate of spending surplus money just to spend it, but if we can’t equip Firefighters to do their jobs it becomes a bi-partisan issue.

    The firefighter’s 2005 ballot initiative would have redirected a small portion of the ½ cent sales tax, providing $8 million for new helicopters and $33 million for new fire trucks.

    The fires cost businesses money in lost employee time because I know of many people who had to stay home with their children because the schools were closed. I took some sick time because the smoke irritated my lungs so I wound up with pleurisy. People were forced to stay inside and I’m sure it had an impact on other local small businesses as far as their revenue is concerned.

    Has anyone calculated how much money the lack of equipment cost homeowners, insurance companies and businesses? Does this not seem completely antithetical to what Republicans pride themselves on? Legislators should have the foresight to understand that the relatively small investments up front can save proportionally more money in the long run and mental anguish for the community as well.

  3. March 27, 2008 at 4:01 pm


    In the second link I point out that when the Register editorial page called me out (they devoted an entire editorial page to me back in October) they let slip their true goal – eliminating the current system of public fire protection and returning to a 19th century fire insurance system, where you only get your home protected if you’ve paid an insurance company.

    Their view is, “you only deserve fire protection if you can afford it. If you can’t afford it, well, sucks to be you, you lazy bum, get off your lazy ass and don’t mooch off of us who can afford it.” They don’t care about investments and protecting a community’s economic activity or value. They just want to keep what they’ve got and if everything burns down around them, well, too bad.

    It’s an insane, lunatic set of beliefs, but there it is, laid out in the Register’s editorial pages and on Matt Cunningham’s blog.

  4. RHackett
    March 29, 2008 at 7:27 am


    The comments in that thread are pretty scary. Irrespective of what you think of the compensation of career personnel, the fact that volunteers are only responding less than half the time tells even the craziest libertarian that paid professionals are necessary in this marketplace.

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