Cactus521

I am from Napa, terrible winds and wildfires

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If you haven't seen the major networks, my former home of Napa is surrounded by wildfires and has experienced winds greater than those of hurricane Nate.  The vineyards are OK, they serve as a natural firebreak, but many of the neighborhoods where my friends live are gone, a major dairy is gone, my favorite park, gone.  When I lived there in 1981 we had a terrible arson caused wildfire, but less than a quarter of the size of this one.  The firefighters in 1981 kept the fire from spreading into the southeastern neighborhoods, but they couldn't with this week's fires, they could only work on saving lives.   I saw the 1981 fire which burned within four miles of my home and spread ash and embers onto our roof.  I used our garden hose to wet down the roof as my father was out of town on government business.  With my binocs I could see trees just exploding in flame, especially the Eucalyptus trees and those images are seared in my memory.  This weekend there was a PGA tour event at Napa's Silverado country club and the fires swept thru there just afterwards.

Please keep my friends and family there in your thoughts and out of respect, please don't try to sim the winds out there.

John

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Nature is a harsh mistress :bengong:.  We don't get too many brushfires in the UK and NOTHING of that magnitude.

Are the airliner water bombers operating - 747 and dc10? As well as the smaller stuff?

Hopefully your friends & family stay safe.

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The images I've seen look really sad, no they look awful.

You're in my prayers tonight.

Phil

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26 minutes ago, HighBypass said:

Nature is a harsh mistress :bengong:.  We don't get too many brushfires in the UK and NOTHING of that magnitude.

Are the airliner water bombers operating - 747 and dc10? As well as the smaller stuff?

Hopefully your friends & family stay safe.

So far my friends still living there have told me on Facebook that they are OK.  My nephew works there, doesn't live there, he works for a wine shipping company in accounting.  Since that's down in the valley he is OK.  One friend may have been hit by the fire, I haven't heard from him and I believe he lives in the Coombsville area, hard hit.  He drove my wife and I to my Mom's funeral in 2009, then took us on a driving tour of the valley afterwards.  His name is Mike McKeown, he is also an avid pilot and aviation fan, we used to fly together in Bill Garnett's Cessna before he passed away, and in a couple of other Cessna 172's and 182's our friends owned.  That was way back in the 80's.  Today Mike is a website designer and Apple tech, and a renowned philanthropist.  His website is here:

http://www.winecountrywebservices.com/about-us.html

John

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I've seen other threads about the fires - the Supertanker 747 is operating in the area. I hope your friend's OK, he just may not have internet or cell phone access at the moment.

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45 minutes ago, HighBypass said:

I've seen other threads about the fires - the Supertanker 747 is operating in the area. I hope your friend's OK, he just may not have internet or cell phone access at the moment.

Sent him an email, I will see if he responds, sometimes he doesn't when he is busy.  He may be out helping with the fires, knowing him.

John

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A lot of fires in North America this year and the Santa Ana winds probably haven't even started yet. I have a fire fighter friend here in Wellington that spent our winter (your summer) battling fires in British Columbia, it was his first time in North America. When they were finished he did a road trip all up and down the Pacific Northwest in both countries. They did a great job fighting the fires and the locals more then took care of them afterwards. Memories that will last a lifetime for him.

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28 minutes ago, Matthew Kane said:

A lot of fires in North America this year and the Santa Ana winds probably haven't even started yet. I have a fire fighter friend here in Wellington that spent our winter (your summer) battling fires in British Columbia, it was his first time in North America. When they were finished he did a road trip all up and down the Pacific Northwest in both countries. They did a great job fighting the fires and the locals more then took care of them afterwards. Memories that will last a lifetime for him.

My older brother, who has now passed on, used to work for the division of forestry in Napa on Jefferson Ave.  He was called to fight a small wildfire once when he almost got run over by an unattended fire truck that started rolling down the hill.  Someone was watching over him.  When we had the 1981 Napa fire, arson caused, he was up in Nevada when he smelled smoke and saw falling ash.  He then saw the news and called home immediately.  That fire looked like a nuclear explosion, 25000 acres went up in a matter of a few hours and the fire covered the same area as this week's fire, only it did not burn on the other side of the valley.

Napa's geography helps save most of the community, the vineyards act as a natural firebreak and they border the community on the north and southwest.  But my friends there have complained about the smoke covering the city.  Napa has approx. 81,000 residents, and nearby Santa Rosa, also affected, has 175,000 residents.  My friends don't suspect arson at this point, they believe power lines probably caused these fires with the hurricane force winds they have had.  At last word they say the winds are picking up again.  The weather there is cool, but very dry as it usually is this time of year.  I have a lot of experience around the parts of Napa that have lost homes, we aren't talking fixer uppers, they are multi-million dollar homes in one of the most exclusive resorts in the country.  It will be a big headache for the insurance companies.

I used to work for an insurance company called California Casualty, I was their WAN admin for Arizona and New Mexico for about a year before I was promoted into software development.  When the big Los Alamos fire happened, I was asked to go there to open a temp office in Santa Fe to service our large customer base in Los Alamos.  We booked a room in the Hilton there, and since we had no wi-fi I set up a telephone network to our HQ in San Mateo, CA.  It allowed us to look up policies and coverages on the spot, I had about three workstations set up for our claims agents.  People say insurance companies are cold hearted, I disagree.  My colleagues wrote checks out over 10,000 even before they could verify coverage, just so our insureds could find shelter.  They were government employees and teachers, and we took care of them.  Later I was asked to drive up into Los Alamos while the fires were still raging to bring down the servers.  All I had to do was show my license, the firefighters already had my name in their system and they let me thru.

When I flew home out of Albuquerque the next day, there were some Phoenix bound firefighters in the airport lounge.  They were given a standing ovation while I silently watched, knowing I had done what I could to help.

John

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Just weak-up, is morning in our country... And in press, I read this terrifical wildfired. 

And now on Avsim, I discover your terrific experience. Today all mine toughts shall be for you John and peoples near you. Mother Nature is absolutely our master, sometime we... the humans... forget it.

Good luck John and keep courage.

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7 hours ago, ms2 said:

Just weak-up, is morning in our country... And in press, I read this terrifical wildfired. 

And now on Avsim, I discover your terrific experience. Today all mine toughts shall be for you John and peoples near you. Mother Nature is absolutely our master, sometime we... the humans... forget it.

Good luck John and keep courage.

Thanks,

This morning my friends report that it is more humid, and the fires have moved south, away from the city.

John

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20 hours ago, Cactus521 said:

Please keep my friends and family there in your thoughts

Sure will. Hope it all pans out for them, their losses kept to minimum,and above all, safe.

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5 minutes ago, vc10man said:

Sure will. Hope it all pans out for them, their losses kept to minimum,and above all, safe.

I've looked at the latest fire map and at least in Napa, the fires have moved away from the heavily populated areas and into the hinterlands.

John

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Current news: Except for a few hotspots, the fires have mostly burned thru the eastern and western hills.  Only the small town of Calistoga remains evacuated.

John

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On 10/12/2017 at 1:49 PM, Cactus521 said:

Current news: Except for a few hotspots, the fires have mostly burned thru the eastern and western hills.  Only the small town of Calistoga remains evacuated.

John

Learned one of my lifelong friends that I went to church school with, his uncle lost his home, it is in ruins.  My friend's name is Chris, we sang together on tour for many years throughout the west, he had a voice like Michael McDonald, much better than mine.  I played center for him on our football team, he said I threw perfect spirals, and we won the championship that year for Northern California. 

Even though I was very small, I had strong legs and upper body strength from my cycling.  So if we ever run out of oil, I will be prepared to both bicycle and fly human powered airplanes, since I still keep fit despite my diabetes.  Today I took a mile walk to celebrate my recovery.  And right now, I am flying the Cessna 337 from Napa to Colorado Springs, enjoying a long five hour flight.

John

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14 hours ago, Matthew Kane said:

Was reading about the couple that survived 6 hours overnight in the neighbours pool as the fire swept through the area, very very lucky to survive, and what a scary ordeal

https://www.stuff.co.nz/world/americas/97876793/couple-survives-six-hours-in-pool-as-california-fires-burn-everything-to-ground

Yes, still a lot of people missing from the fires.  People are returning to where they used to live now to survey damage.  It could have been a lot worse, because the fires swept thru areas where there were thousands of homes.  It will be a bad autumn for the wineries and tourism in the area but the hotels will have some revenue from taking in displaced people, as my hotel did during the 1986 Napa great flood, which took out several thousand homes.  Thank goodness for aviation's air tanker support, it makes a big difference in saving homes and lives.

John

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