Talk:2009 California wildfires

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Two Lost Points[edit]

1. I was redirected here via "Glen Oaks Fire" yet I could not estimate which of the fires was Glen Oaks. I was genuinely curious.

2. There's a "please update" stub at the top but the current pattern of behavior on Wikipedia is.. hmm, not strong. There are multiple articles whose title begins "California Wildfires of __time range__ " but some are year, some are season, and we don't have them for every year since the pattern was begun. This article is a nice readable size, maybe a policy of one page per year for this topic would be a good idea, and a category on "regional wildfire listings" could contain them - hence covering other natural disaster notes if other regions that get encyclopedic quality fires (e.g. montana has had a couple of doozies, I think Colorado is occasionally notable) have covering pages. (talk) 05:47, 25 July 2013 (UTC) Starshine (yeah yeah I know, I'm not logged in)


This is a huge story right now. Could someone notify a few projects or whatever so more people can add to it? Thanks. - Peregrine Fisher (talk) (contribs) 09:54, 31 August 2009 (UTC)

Any idea which projects? I don't know many of them. Is there one for natural disasters, or perhaps we could request help from the California / Southern California geographic area projects? Also, we should clean up the method of indicating the date(s) of the fires. I propose Start Date-End Date, unless currently burning, in which case we could put Start Date-Present. We could try to put estimated containment dates, but containment doesn't mean the fire will be out then, and they change very rapidly and so would be out of date most of the time. Scj2315 (talk) 23:41, 31 August 2009 (UTC)
InciWeb is the US Forest Service incident information system for wildland fires. Includes a lot of useful information about wildfires, about 130+ now, but some not recently updated... currently 18 updated in past 18 hours.... I got the estimated containment date for the Station Fire from here and changed the reference for the Infobox acres burned to the InciWeb link. Petersam (talk) 00:11, 1 September 2009 (UTC)
That's been my source too. Until the latest update, I believe one part of the page showed 9/15, another 9/8. But I suppose the date estimates won't change much more frequently than the acreage estimates, and we'll certainly be updating those, so I guess it doesn't hurt to put them in. Scj2315 (talk) 00:22, 1 September 2009 (UTC)
The state website Cal Fire also has some info; not much on the Station Fire at this point. The feds have more resources to update web info than the cash poor state, better to put out the actual fire than worry about a website, LOL Petersam (talk) 00:34, 1 September 2009 (UTC)
Actually, you'll notice that CalFire posts detailed updates on practically every measly little 10-acre brushfire within their jurisdiction across the entire state. The Station Fire is in a National Forest, and therefore the jurisdiction is the US Forest Service (a federal agency), not CalFire (a state agency). So the CalFire website has not published detailed information on the Station Fire because they are not in charge of it. However, if you spent 3 seconds looking at their record, you would they do post a helpful link to such information published on InciWeb, the equivalent federal firefighting site run by the Forest Service. So it is a question of jurisdiction, not funding (of which there is plenty, for both firefighting and the website). "LOL" (talk) 12:43, 1 September 2009 (UTC)
Came across another fire tracking site Western Institute for Study of the Environment - W.I.S.E. Fire Tracking - Seems InciWeb had “server problems” last summer - InciWeb Problems Are Bull… . Petersam (talk) 08:18, 2 September 2009 (UTC)

Lead reword[edit]

I reworded and expanded the lead, work needs to be done, mass commercial media sources tend to be very innacurate and sensationalise events such as this, so if we can stick to sources like ABC, BBC, the fire authorities themselves, government departments, etc, that'll help heaps :] Nick carson (talk) 04:50, 1 September 2009 (UTC)

Wikinews story?[edit]

The folks over at Wikinews don't seem to have picked up on these events much, at least not yet. They do have a stub article here. Does anyone know a regular editor over there whom they could contact, or would anyone be willing to help develop that story for them concurrently with this article? Scj2315 (talk) 06:05, 1 September 2009 (UTC)

I don't think it's notable enough. These wildfires are no different from any other wildfire or bushfire events. If they do escalate then things would obviously change. Nick carson (talk) 12:46, 1 September 2009 (UTC)
You may be right, but it really is sad that a 100,000-acre wildfire is no longer notable in California, where we've had 10 since 2002 (compared to 9 in the previous 70 years). That's the real story. (talk) 12:59, 1 September 2009 (UTC)
The fires are notable enough to warrant page 3 coverage in today's Wall Street Journal. I would not count on much coverage from Wikinews. Most updates to events, right or wrong, happen on Wikipedia. Alanraywiki (talk) 15:29, 1 September 2009 (UTC)
It's unfortunate but fires in California or even in the Mediterranean seem so common that they'd need to do an awful lot of damage to attract wider attention. The death of two firefighters, though sad for all involved, is not really comparable to examples such as the Black Saturday bushfires in Australia. --candlewicke 20:32, 1 September 2009 (UTC)


It is now September. Have they stopped? "August 2009 California wildfires" might not be an appropriate title if they haven't but I am not very familiar with what's going on there so don't want to change it. --candlewicke 20:22, 1 September 2009 (UTC)

They started in August. These fires will burn for weeks even after they've been fully contained sometimes. Of course there were other big fires earlier in the summero, and more fires will start this month and we haven't even started having our Santa Ana winds in Southern California so there may be some bad blazes all the way through the end of November... maybe we will eventually just call it 2009 California wildfires. (talk) 23:03, 1 September 2009 (UTC)
This article might be more accurately renamed Summer 2009 California wildfires. Such a title would readily incorporate fires from June thru September 2009. CalFire's incident info system has lots of fires in June & July that could be added. I added a July fire because this is the only California wildfires article for 2009 and the fire was related to another fire in August. (talk) 09:50, 3 September 2009 (UTC)
Agreed. It is September; I'm looking out the window toward the Hollywood sign and lo and behold: fire. I don't think "2009 California Summer Fires" would suffice, either, seeing as Fall began two days ago. I don't see anything wrong with renaming the article "August-September 2009 California Wildfires." I partially agree with (talk). But, I do think that these fires will be known as the 2009 Station Fire, as already being dubbed by the media. Thoughts?GnarlyLikeWhoa (talk) 23:39, 3 September 2009 (UTC)
I think August—September 2009 California wildfires (or something close to that) is appropriate. Just mentioning the Station Fire leaves out all the fires in Northern California. The term summer is okay because fall does not begin until September 22, but it is not summer in the Southern Hemisphere so we usually do not use seasons (see WP:SEASON). Alanraywiki (talk) 23:57, 3 September 2009 (UTC)
That guideline seems a little silly. It may not be summer in Australia but it is summer in California, where the wildfires actually are. Besides, it's not September in Iran (or 2009, for that matter). (talk) 04:37, 4 September 2009 (UTC)
I support the rename to Summer 2009 Californian wildfires or even 2009 Californian wildfires. Nick carson (talk) 09:52, 4 September 2009 (UTC)
Another hand up for the simpler, non-season-oriented 2009 California wildfires -- HidariMigi (talk) 17:20, 4 September 2009 (UTC)
Go with 2009 California wildfires, that we can discuss all the fires that happen in California during 2009.[1] MrBell (talk) 18:55, 4 September 2009 (UTC)
The fire season is not over yet! The October 2007 California wildfires and Oakland Firestorm of 1991 occurred in October. i vote for 2009 California wildfires. Petersam (talk) 01:00, 5 September 2009 (UTC)
Yeah, in fact Southern California fire season hasn't technically even started yet. These big summer fires are quite unusual since our big fires usually depend on the Santa Anas which don't start until October. I would also support the change to 2009 fires as long as the article doesn't become just a list of every single fire that happened this year. (talk) 06:59, 5 September 2009 (UTC)
This was me. Sheep81 (talk) 08:20, 5 September 2009 (UTC)
I went back through the CalFire records to February and, while there were dozens of recorded fires, I didn't see any especially big or destructive ones except the Jesusita Fire which burned 80 houses in Santa Barbara in May. So I don't think we would have to add much to make it representative of the whole year so far. I expect we'll be adding quite a lot through October and November.Sheep81 (talk) 08:30, 5 September 2009 (UTC)
i support 2009 Californian wildfires. just because fires are rare during the 'off-months' doesn't mean they cannot, or do not occur. even the governor announced fire season is year 'round. further it is the most logical division of chronology. --emerson7 20:44, 7 September 2009 (UTC)

La Brea Fire[edit]

What about the La Brea Fire earlier in the month? It was pretty notable for its size (almost 90K acres) and source (illegal marijuana plantation on National Forest land). (talk) 00:18, 2 September 2009 (UTC)

Be bold - Petersam (talk) 06:22, 2 September 2009 (UTC)

Nameing convention[edit]

Perhaps I am being dense, but why is the fire named the "Station fire?" Is it because of the antennas on Mt. Wilson? --Jackbox1971 (talk) 16:27, 2 September 2009 (UTC)

I don't have a citable source but it was called the Station Fire by USFS firefighters because it started very close to their station on Angeles Crest Highway. (talk) 17:23, 2 September 2009 (UTC)
That is my understanding also, and would be a good addition to the article once a source is found. Alanraywiki (talk) 17:27, 2 September 2009 (UTC)
I found an NYT article that confirms what you have said. I will add it. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Jackbox1971 (talkcontribs) 01:45, 3 September 2009 (UTC)

So-called "environmentalists" had prevented fire prone brush from being cleared.[edit]

Associated Press reported, "Some critics suggested that protests from environmentalists contributed to the disaster, which came after the brush was allowed to build up for as much as 40 years. 'This brush was ready to explode,' said Los Angeles County Supervisor Mike Antonovich, whose district overlaps the forest. 'The environmentalists have gone to the extreme to prevent controlled burns, and as a result we have this catastrophe today.' Prescribed burns are intended to protect homes and lives by eliminating fuel that can cause explosive wildfires. The wildfire that has blackened 140,000 acres - or nearly 219 square miles - in the forest over the past week has been fed by the kind of tinder-dry vegetation that prescribed burns are designed to safely devour."

Politically, Antonovich is pretty far to the right, in the spectrum where anti-environmentalist rants are not unknown. So I think you need to "consider the source" when it comes to what he says. (talk) 15:51, 15 September 2009 (UTC)

I cannot add this to the article because I have been topic banned. If anyone else thinks that adding this information would improve the article, please do so. Thank you.

Grundle2600 (talk) 14:03, 3 September 2009 (UTC)

Many environmentalists are quite comfortable with prescribed burns. These habitats burn naturally, but if people build houses in the habitat, they don't like fires burning around their homes. Prescribed burns can be used to simulate these natural fires and still keep the flames under control so structures are not threatened. Also, I dunno but it seems you are breaking the spirit of your topic ban. Sheep81 (talk) 14:19, 3 September 2009 (UTC)
My topic ban specifically said that I am allowed to make recommendations on talk pages - it's just the articles themselves (political ones) that I can't edit. Anyway, I agree with you that real environmentalists favor controlled burns, which is why I put the word "environmentalists" in quotes above. Grundle2600 (talk) 18:31, 3 September 2009 (UTC)
The use of the term environmentalists doesn't really help, there are loads of people, organisations, authorities, etc, who support controlled or "prescribed" burns, not just people who are aware of issues of sustainability. Also, the issue of clearing vegetation in wildfire prone areas is an ongoing and contentious one, the trump for this issue is the fact that clearing land in case of an unlikely event or a decade-long periodical event is no justification for the clearing of that land. It's important that people who live in wildire prone areas understand the implications that come with that, the climate, vegetation, etc, you must be aware of your surroundings, just the same as someone who lives on a volcanic plain or on the coast in a hurricane prone area. Nick carson (talk) 09:49, 4 September 2009 (UTC)

I apologize Grundle, obviously I have no idea about your situation so I should not have spoken out about it. I don't mind adding this reference to the article as it is from a major news organization and quotes a public official with knowledge of the situation. However, I am concerned that it not become a political statement indicting the environmental movement as a whole. So, I propose we make very clear that it is not "environmentalists" in general but rather "some environmental organizations" or something like that. Maybe we can find a source indicating which specific organizations it was so it sounds less weaselly. Sheep81 (talk) 08:54, 5 September 2009 (UTC)


This block of text was in the lead. I removed it because it appears unsourced and a bit off topic. If someone would like to interpret the information and add it back, feel free to do so if it adds pertinent detail to the article.

"To give some estimation of what that means to a forest hydrology, or soils expert, Cptn. Bennett Evans ran a 4 square mile catchment at Plynlimon in 1968 as ranch sheep and Welsh Black cattle, with 4 square mile forest at Hafren, both used by Hydrological Research Unit to compare forest and grassland hydrologic responses (later Institute of Hydrology). If you can imagine a large part of east Pen Pumlumon Arwystli Afon Hafren and Afon Gwy catchment drainage burned off to the extent of an African bush fire, or Australia, East Twin Brook Blackdown Mendip that must have established the peat mineral charcoal researched by D. Findlay Soil Survey of England and Wales, Soils of Mendip, cited by myself as cause of the slight interflow in the Ashen Peaty Podzol headwater, then you have a little idea of California's loss, impending soil erosion and risk of landslip and flood blockage, congestion of streams (M.D. Stagg M.Sc. thesis 1974). Denver it was noted had to issue health warnings due to smoke dust from across the Sierra Nevada Rocky Mountains. The Governor and CalFire have been fighting a burn out of gully infested resource supplied fires with little assistance, but from their own people and a lot less credit than they deserve for mending a zone critical at all times. This is well over 60 Plynlimon research catchments; 0.0007 square miles for the top of East Twin Brook, burned for heather ling grazing improvement in controlled systems some decades ago." MrBell (talk) 15:39, 8 September 2009 (UTC)


It's March 2010 now. Unless these fires have managed to burn in secret for more than half a year, the article should really be reworded in the past tense rather than the present tense. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:56, 12 March 2010 (UTC)

49 Fire in Placer County[edit]

The fire's cause needs to be reliably sourced. Article states that the fire was caused by arson and the arsonist started a 2nd fire 20 minutes later. The cited sources only say that arson is one (of many) possible causes. Cited sources say nothing about a second fire or point of origin. They were written while fire burned. CalFire should have determined the cause by now. (talk) 10:20, 8 January 2011 (UTC)

Update, Please![edit]

It's been over three years, but there are still a lot of "as of" references that highlight the sketchy preliminary state of information dating to the time when the fire was still burning. Particularly disappointing is the sentence: "Property owners and concerned citizens are demanding a formal Congressional investigation as to why the U.S. Forest Service did not contain the fire within the first 48 hours when it was manageable". There must be information about said hearings somewhere else in Wikipedia to bring this closer to the present. And surely someone could fill in the rest of the blanks and give some overall analysis based on what's become known since then. Chuck Entz (talk) 08:44, 16 December 2012 (UTC)

It's now 5 1/2 years, and there are still sentences such as "The Big Meadow Fire is 96% contained as of September 6, with full containment expected by September 10". When I left my first note, I didn't know about the update template. Perhaps that will finally get somebody's attention (there have been a few piecemeal fixes, but not the comprehensive overhaul needed). Chuck Entz (talk) 23:38, 5 April 2015 (UTC)
@Chuck Entz: you do realize that YOU can edit the page right? --Zackmann08 (Talk to me/What I been doing) 17:49, 1 September 2015 (UTC)
Of course, but this isn't remotely in the realm of things I would prefer to work with. I was hoping to get the attention of someone who's familiar with the sources needed to provide a real update. All I could do would be to remove content, which wouldn't be much of an improvement over the way things are now. Chuck Entz (talk) 02:56, 2 September 2015 (UTC)

Renaming pages[edit]

There is a discussion about renaming the Category:Wildfires in California by year pages from <YEAR> California wildfires to <YEAR> California wildfire season on the talk page for Talk:2015 California wildfires. If you care to participate in the discussion, please comment here (so as to keep the discussion in one location. --Zackmann08 (Talk to me/What I been doing) 17:47, 1 September 2015 (UTC)

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