Commentary: Fire danger
For the last 2 days, we were caught up with the fire danger in the Los Angeles area. Fortunately we were not forced to evacuate our abode but the threat was there.
I could not get to work Wednesday as the 405 North and South was closed down as the wildfires were blazing all around the road. As the fire was focused on the east side of the 405 and we live on the west side, the fear was the fire would jump over and created an even more massive problem. This is a very densely populated area with narrow streets , and difficult to get around.
We live on a beautiful stretch of a road that is one way in and out and 5 miles long. This is also the danger of the area as a fire basically would trap you and escape would be very difficult.
We loaded up both our cars, clothing, papers, kitty and dog items and waited.
Watching TV news, waiting on text alerts and hearing the constant helicopter and airplane noise flying to dump chemicals and water on the fire site.
The wind was bad, the smoke was worse and the anxiety tripled all of the hazards. The dog and cats felt the tension and also were acting out.
We needed a place to stay if in fact we had to leave. We made a number of calls to local hotels and this is what we discovered.
- Animals are not considered important and unless they are service related would not be accepted.
- Hotels do not consider an emergency a reason to give you a room break. One hotel which were forced to book as there were no other option charged a $35 a day resort fee.
- Charged a $100 animal fee.
- Charged full tax, and a parking fee for each car you bring in.
- Would not refund your room charge or give you a break if you did not need the room.
- Would not hold your room for an hour to decide if you needed a room.
- The end result was we did not use the room but were charged as the fire danger did not reach our neck of the woods.
- Here is another example of this type of neighborly humanity during an emergency.
- Developers deem it a necessity to clog the streets with trucks and crew. I asked one work site if they were aware the danger of working with heavy machines during a red flag day as a stray spark could start a brush fire.
- Polite nods with comments such as “we were told to work.” No indication that their actions would be as dangerous to them as well to the neighborhood. I counted at least 8 work sites on my street in full activity despite hundreds of responders fighting fires less than three miles away.
- So what is it a combination of enforcement, fines and education that would help make the environment safer from the fire threats?
- Seems heavy, scrutiny might help but I do not know.
Baffled in Los Angeles