Sunday, August 02, 2015

Cape Horn Fire Pictures

The first three pictures show the total destruction of several houses near the shoreline. I have seen burned homes before. Never have I seen such total destruction. No charred wood or plumbing, chimneys ... Nothing. Just what looks like concrete rubble.

What I found remarkable though, was when I drove out to the end of the Cape. Not one house was damaged on the uphill side. Where the fire burned all the way down to the road, and knocked on the back doors of some homes, all were saved except the 6 that were grouped on the same access road on Lake Front. I hear one home owner rented a float home while waiting for insurance issues to work through. I think I can speak for all of us that live or recreate here, that one we feel for the people that were burned out, and two, the heroic efforts of the fire fighters saving most of the homes that were at risk.

While on the cruise Thursday, we saw a spot fire up the mountain and in an area that hadn't burned. There was a thunderstorm 3 days previous, which was most likely the cause. The wind was dead calm and the smoke was vertical. Friday we were out all day and not even a wisp of smoke. 

The last picture shows the only place a shipwrecked couple could have got out of the water. Both sides for quite a distance were sheer rock walls clear down to the water. This would explain why the panicked firing of flares, given the rough water conditions then. Lacking training that might have made them understand what happens to a flare that is fired into the wind and an up angle it is no wonder why it curved back over their heads and started the fire.

We can second guess them and many will. But untrained and in distress, the chose to use the only life saving means at their disposal. That they had flares, required on all boats, was to their credit. Unfortunately they should have fired them at a shallow angle. Even then, using a hand held radio and calling for help would have been safer for all.

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