Friday, June 29, 2007

Angora Fire -- June 29, morning

From an email to family and friends:

OK, one more from me. But it's all good news.

Containment is still at 70 percnet, but he crews made progess overnight to establish a 300-foot mop up line. They are taking out snags 500 feet in.

Highway 89 is open. Mandatory evacuation still for the homes closest to Hwy 89 and near 15th Street. For those who know the area, 15th Street is the back way into the Tahoe Keys, which my house backs to.

July 3 is still the magic full containment date -- fully controlled is another matter without a date being predicted.

Resources this morning (and these have changed throughout the fire based on needs of more in the air, etc.): 49 hand crews, 166 engines, 4 helicopters, 21 water tenders. There are 2,008 people working the fire either literally putting it out or coordinating efforts.

At the height, nearly 2,200 firefighters were on the line. Signs are all over town thanking them, cookies and water brought out by neighbors, restaurants not taking their money.

Most hotels have opened rooms up for free to locals. Now begins the chore or finding more permanent temporary housing. Most I've talked to want to rebuild.

I've heard horror stories of those who are underinsured. Even the state insurance commissioner gave a 5-minute lecture on the importance of renewing homeowners and renters insurance policies on an annual basis. It costs more to rebuild and replace things each year. Up the deductible to afford it. You'll come up with a $5,000 deductible easier than ten or hundreds of thousands of dollars to replace all that you have. It doesn't take a natural disaster to destroy a home.

Assuming the crews get the Angora fire out we are looking at 254 homes and 75 commercial buildings destroyed; another 26 homes are damaged, but will eventually be able to be occupied.

A friend who lost everything said he expects life to resume to normal in a year -- he's married with two sons.

I can only imagine counseling will be needed for so many to work through this.

The problem I'm hearing with the houses that are still standing is the smoke damage. Secondhand I heard of someone wanting to tear down to the foundation and start over. The smoke is so pervasive.

Just the structural loss is at $141 million. That will grow as contents and other items are tallied.

Cost to fight the fire to date is $8.3 million. At one point total cost was predicted to be $30 million. A couple days ago the incident commander, Rich Hawkins, revised that to $15 million.

Winds are expected to be much less today than originally forecast -- between 5-14 mph. Though gusts could still reach into the 30s.

Again, the cause should be released tonight at the 8 p.m. community meeting.

1 comment:

Cathy Scott said...

Kae-- Yeah, you're now a blogger!! Very cool! --Cathy