California Firestorm, 2003 : Anatomy of a Fire

I have not been terrified, saddened, frustrated, angry, confused – all at one time – except during the Firestorm in 2003.  It was my awakening on so many levels, and profoundly changed my life.  Nothing made sense.  Now, with this blog, I can start to put in writing what my seven plus years of research has yielded.  Remember, I am only examining the facts.  I use their words, articles, reports.  I’ll let you make your own conclusion.  It all began in October 2003 with the fires.  Here is my thoughts in April 2004 when I started recording information and compiling it.

History:

My background in investigative research, advocacy and activism spans more than 30 years and is fueled by my belief in the very tenets that make this country great.  As a citizen, I possess the right to question and challenge any ‘authority’ that does not act in our best interest.  The events that led up to, during, and after the Firestorm that engulfed San Diego County has amplified my commitment to investigate local, state and federal authorities that failed and even obstructed efforts to defend our wildlands, wildlife and residents.

It is my assertion that the California 2003 Firestorm that consumed more than 750,000 acres and killed 24 people was preventable.  I further assert that,

The public and media were deliberately fed disinformation on the local, state and federal level that knowingly put the public at risk,
State agencies deliberately deceived the pubic on firefighting resources available,
Firefighting agencies did not proactively attack these fires, putting the public at risk,
Negligence in providing adequate ‘first-alert’ systems or alerting media
State Firefighting agencies suppressed local efforts to fight the fire,

While the CDF and related state agencies assert they did the best they could, they concede that the loss of wildlands, wildlife and residents was a regrettable consequence of the fire (see Governor’s Blue Ribbon Commission report), however, overall they consider their efforts successful.

Based on my research and knowledge – this is not true.  There are and were massive state and federal resources available that were established under the National Fire Plan. In particular, ESF#4 clearly identifies lead agencies, support agencies and their individual responsibilities in detecting and suppressing fires.  These agencies function under the Federal Response Plan, and were specifically created in order to ensure efficient and effective response mechanisms and seamless communications.  They include the United States Fire Commission (Dept of Homeland Security), Office of Aircraft Services (DoI), Dept. of Commerce, Dept. of Defense, United States Forest Service, (DoA), US Fish & Wildlife (DoI), National Park Service (DoI) Bureau of Land Management (DoI) Bureau of Indian Affairs (DoI), etc.

Sources and Compelling Observations:

The United States is currently under an ‘elevated’ (yellow) status of alert,
12 fires from Ventura County to Otay were of ‘suspicious origin’ (not lightning)
DHS considers ‘fire’ a credible threat by terrorists,
All 12 fires began within 5 days of each other,
Incident Reports for Cedar Fire (10/25 – 12/4) showing latitude and longitude
Initial Cedar Fire report neglects to mention impending Santa Ana winds
Aerial extraction of hunter real-time but no fire response
Purpose and scope of CFCG (California Fires Coordination Group) Washington, DC
Purpose and scope of NIFC (National Interagency Fire Center) Boise, Idaho
National Fire Plan Doctrine
$483M in Federal assistance channeled into California post fire
FEMA report into DHS

Initial Findings:

Either every agency from the federal level to local municipalities failed to coordinate and communicate effective response mechanisms, and demonstrated massive incompetence and indifference

or

These fires were deliberately allowed to grow.

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