Fire destroys 49 homes in Malibu

The fire season in California continues, driven by high winds and low humidity.

This time, a fire caused by "human activity" ravaged the canyons and hillsides of Malibu:

The so-called Corral fire burned 4,700 acres before the fierce Santa Ana winds died down, allowing firefighters to make a stand. By evening, the blaze, which investigators said was started by "human activity," was 25% contained.

Six firefighters sustained minor injuries, authorities said. Meteorologists said the winds were subsiding and not expected to return today. A red flag warning, issued when the humidity level drops below 8%, would remain in effect in Los Angeles and Ventura counties until this evening.

Last month's wildfires ignited in multiple areas throughout Southern California and stretched limited firefighting resources thin. This time, only Malibu was ablaze. As a result, two dozen firefighting aircraft and hundreds of ground crews were able to concentrate their attacks. "It helped that nothing else is going on," said U.S. Forest Service spokesman Jim Wilkins.

"We have a lot of assets put in place." Knowing that Santa Ana winds and low humidity were in the forecast, fire officials started preparing days ago. More than 600 firefighters from around California and the Western United States had gathered at the National Orange Show grounds in San Bernardino before Thanksgiving, officials said.
It appears that the entire disaster response philosophy of government has changed thanks to the criticism levelled against the Bush Administration for their response to Hurricane Katrina. Deserved or not, no politician is ever going to be caught again. Not only are assets going to be preplaced (as many were with Katrina) but the politicians are going to let the press know they are there and ready.

Perception always trumps reality when it comes to politics.
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