L.A. Fire Abated, Apparentl

Steve Maack (steve_maack@QMBRIDGE.CALSTATE.EDU)
Fri, 5 Nov 1993 10:57:33 U

ANTHRO-L and ANTHAP colleagues and friends,
A couple people have wondered aloud what is going on in L.A. today with the
fires, because their T.V. isn't showing much. That's probably because not
much is happening. The local media here has quit hyping the fires so much,
although still covering them. The few remaining fires are reportedly back
up in the hills, away from people, homes, and businesses. Firefighting
equipment is simply assembled at Pepperdine University for a bit, perhaps
"just in case," but may disperse soon -- or some may stay in case weekend
Santa Anas cause any problems. Three people are now known dead -- a
British film director who went back into a burning place after his cat (the
cat survived), and two so far unidentified bodies just found burned in a
car (but no one has been reported missing from the area, so the media is
speculating "transients"). Malibu residents were shown on TV this morning,
allowed back in their neighborhoods (apparently yesterday?) to see if their
homes are standing, or to sift through the ruins. Authorities wouldn't
allow people back into burned over neighborhoods if they thought there was
any danger. Decisions are being made about how best to clear remaining
flammable material from already burned areas and reseed to avoid mudslides
during the winter rains.

I recommend that everyone concerned about specific individuals try calling
those people themselves now, since one-on-one communication with friends
and loved ones would be psychologically best for all concerned individuals
right now. You guys and gals shouldn't need a local disaster reporter and
intermediary right now, and I have to get some work done. I don't mean to
sound hard-hearted, but I think it is time for contacting people here to be
back to you all to do .... The phone lines will clear eventually if you
can't get through immediately.

Dan Jorgenson wrote me privately (quoted here without permission):

> Reminds me of the cycle of plagues that used to hit the
> place when I was there: drought, fires + Santa Anas,
> followed by rabid coyotes and bats, all washed down with
> mudslides and an earthquake or two. Despite the
> beautiful location, and all the pavement, Mother Nature
> can get very snarky down there.

Kind of says it right. I said in my first message that we in L.A. sort of
take natural disasters a little bit in stride. This is the "beautiful,"
"in between the disasters" period. I'll get back on line if the "crisis"
phase comes again. Meanwhile, may see if Barbara Pillsbury needs any help
helping her neighbors this weekend, but I also have to get my own and two
other AAA papers off to the session discussant, and .... Later. Thanks
for your concern. Ciao.

Steve Maack Steve_Maack@qmbridge.calstate.edu