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Fire at our Anza Site, 6/5/04
By: Barbara Toy
June 6, 2004 4:50PM PDT
Views: 7420

Tom Caldwell, an OCA member who has property near our Anza site, sent me this account of the fire that broke out near our site in the late afternoon of Saturday, June 5, 2004. Dave Radosevich and Jim Hannum tell me that the vegetation on part of our site burned, though no buildings were hurt. The neighboring property lost all of its vegetation, but fortunately they didn't have any structures damaged, either.

Tom's first email about the fire was sent after 8:00 the night of the fire, and had the following information:

"My wife and I witnessed the fire today here about a quarter mile or less from [the OCA Anza site].  My wife probably made the first call to the fire dept.  An explosion, which she witnessed, on an adjoining property … started the fire at about 4:50pm.  The OCA [property] was directly in the path of the fire.  We prayed and watched, which was all we could do.  I took lots of pictures of the airdrops, helis and airtankers.  Lots of fire equipment and response time was very good.  …"

This morning he sent this additional information:

"It was quite an operation here.  The CDF operated with military precision, a small army of personnel, many trucks, RFD and CDF trucks, several different types of helicopters, including Sikorsky's heavy lift and two air tankers, along with an airtraffic coordination aircraft above them all.  The wind was mild but it was blowing the fire directly toward the OCA site.… There were fire trucks up above [the OCA site] and various places throughout the night to watch for flare-ups.  The property was in good hands.  The fire people did a remarkable job."

Tom has generously offered to give the club copies of the pictures he took for our archive, and we will plan to post at least a few of them in the on-line photo album.  Our thanks to the Caldwells for their prompt action in letting the authorities know about the fire, for keeping an eye out for our property, and for giving us this eyewitness account of what happened.

OCA members Dave Radosevich and Jim Hannum were out at Anza on Sunday, as another neighbor had called to tell them about the fire.  They checked our site and report that we lost a lot of vegetation in the undeveloped part of the site.  The property across from the upper part of our site lost all of its vegetation, and they had to do a lot of cleanup because of the fire retardant that was dropped, but didn't have any damage to any of their buildings.  We have also been told that the fire started when a drunk driver went off the road near our site and into the brush - apparently the explosion that was mentioned occurred after his car caught fire.

We were very lucky that this fire didn't do more damage to our property, and we are very grateful to the firefighters who did such a good job of getting it under control before it got to any of our buildings or the neighboring buildings.

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