Saturday, November 22nd, 2008

No Amount of Money Can Stave Off Wildfire Disaster!

It’s wildfire season again in Southern California – and the latest round of brutal blazes took its toll on the well-to-do and working class alike!

I’m Mr. Prepared, here to take a look at just how deadly wildfires can be – and how easily they can get out of control.  In this case, a mobile home park – as well as one of the most exclusive neighborhoods in So Cal – was equally devastated. 

Montecito, near Santa Barbara north of Los Angeles, was named as the seventh most expensive neighbourhood in America by Forbes magazine, with an average home price of 2.9 million dollars – a little out of Mr. Prepared’s price range!  The community contains hundreds of lavish estates belonging to the likes of Oprah Winfrey, “Monty Python” comedian John Cleese, actor Michael Douglas and other big-time celebrities with more money than they know what to do with. 

And all it took was the aftermath of an all-night college party to take down dozens of those magnificent mansions.

Some local students got together at a nearby abandoned home on a hillside one night – and built a bonfire that burned into the early morning hours.  They finally put it out and went home – but the fire wasn’t ready to call it a night.  Conditions were so dry that the blaze reignited and continued to burn all day – and then powerful evening gusts that the locals call “sundowners” spread the wildfire everywhere despite fire fighters’ best efforts. 

Everyone’s survival was at stake.  That meant the stars were forced to evacuate their homes just like anyone else would have been.  Maybe they had chauffeurs to drive them out of disaster, but otherwise, they were just as terrified as you or I would have been.  Take popular TV and movie star Rob Lowe.  His relaxing day had a very rude interruption, according to a report from the Associated Press. 

“I was watching the football game with my son and my wife called and said ‘Montecito’s on fire – get out!’,’ said Rob.  “I thought she was kidding because there was no indication that there would be any problem whatsoever. But we got in the car, pulled out of the driveway and the entire mountain behind us was in flames.”

Meanwhile, at a different place where you probably wouldn’t find a guy like Rob Lowe hanging out, another deadly wildfire took its toll – in a San Fernando Valley motor home park that was actually very special to Los Angeles County Fire Captain David Yonan.  He had lived there for two of what he called the happiest years of his life with his ex-wife. 

After battling wildfires in another area all night, Yonan was ready to go home – then one of his former neighbors called him and begged him to come help at the motor home park – where high winds were driving an incredibly destructive inferno. 

Yonan went “rogue,” immediately taking his fire fighting team over there before getting permission from the higher-ups.  He turned out to be a hero, saving 131 of the motor homes, despite gusts of up to 70 mph.  One of those homes belonged to his ex-wife – who gave him a big teary-eyed “thank you.”   Maybe that will get his alimony reduced!

Wildfires, especially in areas like Southern California where hot, dry conditions and desert winds combine to create disaster, are fast-moving and deadly – and knowing how to prepare for them.  I strongly advise you to find out the wildfire dangers of the area you live in – and visit my website at to find out lifesaving survival tips and tricks.

Until next time, be Smart!  Be Safe!  Be Prepared! This is Mr. Prepared, bringing Awareness to Preparedness!