Friday, June 27, 2008

A Look Back to Sunday

In less than a week, the town has gone from being threatened by a 300-acre wildfire ravaging the canyons of San Bruno Mtn. to resembling again the small, quaint community which so many of us love in Brisbane. This would not have been the case without the quick thinking of firefighters from CAL Fire, North County Fire, and of course, our own Station 81 guys. Let's recount the events from Sunday evening, and see just how fortunate we are because of their efforts!

(The pictures below were taken by Brisbane resident Steve Berry who dropped off over 300 of his pictures at City Hall. Here are the ones that particularly stand out):

The backfire which CAL Fire implemented was successful in that it resulted in the fire burning into itself. Cutting the fire's oxygen and fuel supply were both a part of that strategy. If you look closely at the picture below, you'll see a little red dot under the fire - that is the flare which was used to start the backfire.

The big flames seen below are due to the fire burning in tall trees.
The fire started burning in Owl Canyon and then made its way left to Buckeye Canyon.
It is quite scary to consider how close the fire got to the houses at the upper part of Central Brisbane. Residents from the evacuated streets of Kings, Margaret, Trinity, and Paul did a tremendous job that night, along with the Police Dept., CEVs, and Public Works crew who all helped make the evacuation process a success, as well as Parks & Rec., who opened up Mission Blue Center so the evacuees would have a safe and warm place to stay for those hours outside of their homes. But let's not delude ourselves into thinking we can now rest on our laurels, because there is always room for improvement. If you have ideas or suggestions, or comments about what worked well and what didn't, we need you to be there at tomorrow's post-incident debrief (9:00 am at the Marina) to share them with the Fire and Police departments, and City Hall staff. Something as important as this just can't wait.


Eric Paulos said...

Brisbane resident here. So glad the hard work of the firefighters prevented what could have been a major disaster for Brisbane. I know many of us have also been concerned with the air quality as a result of the fires.

I've been monitoring the air quality since the fire using some highly calibrated industrial equipment. I've uploaded an image showing a 24 hour plot of what is called PM10 from yesterday which is particles < 10 microns. The EU standards are for < 50ug/m^3 over 24 hours. You can see that we are clearly exceeding that value. Please stay indoors. I will hopefully have updates as we move forward.

Anonymous said...

On the night of the fire on Sierra Point Road, just 2 blocks away from the evacuated houses, our fear was doubled by the complete lack of information. We did not know just how close the fire actually was and the prospects of our never-yet-rehearsed evacuation as well.

As a result, several neighbors had to add to the traffic by driving around to see for themselves.

As the City's Emergency Response Plan is improved, please include the easily usable access technology we now have with Channel 27. Further, for residents without either computers or cable TV, a Lions-type loudspeaker route all through town should be implemented.

A simple situation report giving the basics could be sent as a text message from the Emergency Services Director's cell phone to all these three channels of information.

All citizens, not just the "top-level residents" and Council members, deserve equal emergency information services.

The City of Brisbane said...

Yes, it doesn't hurt to limit your outdoor activity for the time-being.

The BAAQMD has a 5-day Air Quality forecast which can be accessed here:

Looks like Brisbane's is good through Friday.

The City is working on strengthening its Emergency Response Plan and is taking into account all the suggestions that have come forth. In the meantime, do make sure you and your family members are signed up to receive ROAM Alerts through the County - it's by far the fastest way to receive up-to-the-second emergency information. Sign up here:

The City of Brisbane said...

We have received a post which is concerned whether people were impacted by posion oak fumes and we are researching to see if it possible to spread poison oak in this fashion.

The City of Brisbane said...

In consulting with the fire chief, he is not aware of any incidences of poison oak being able to spread through smoke fumes.