Archive for April, 2012
I have had some experience covering Forrest fires. They now call them wild land fire, but I prefer forest fires when they are in the trees. In the 80′s I covered the Black Tiger Fire which destroyed over 40 beautiful homes up on sugar loaf. I covered the Yellow Stone park fire and most shockingly the Storm King Fire near Aspen where 13 smoke jumpers lost their lives. So I knew just how rapidly a fast moving forest fire could kill people.
When the ferociousness flames of the Four Mile Fire hit on Sunday morning Labor Day weekend 2010, I new we were in big trouble. I was up on flagstaff Mountain when it started, talking with a city of boulder Parks open space officer. I could hear all the radio traffic coming in to his truck radio. He had about 7 channels going. The most frightening ones were all of the fire crew channels.
It was bad. People were running for their lives. Fire crews were running for their lives. And the fire was running right up the mountain buring everything in its path. The fire had started at about 10:30am, but by noon I knew we had lost over 100 homes and the winds were still blowing. I got out my laptop and started to write.
The fire had crested Sunshine Canyon road and was on the move down the other side. As a reporter I started reporting what I heard and saw from Flagstaff. Boulder OEM hadn’t opened yet, and I could not get any assistance or information officially on the fire. I decided, to hell with it and not wait. First why wait? Secondly this fire was a potential killer.
I sat in the Boulder Channel 1 TV production truck and then did our first video from Flagstaff with the fire as a back drop at 11:30. Donna Marek, one of our reporters wrote the first story at 11:10. She was talking with fire crews from Downtown Boulder. Ron Baird our news editor called me on my cell and had the first report from the city at 11:40 . He filed the second story.
Ron Donna and I talked about how serious this was. It was decided that I should post the life threatening stories based on what I heard on the radio and let resident know this was a fire storm and get the hell off the mountain. Before I did, I talked with Patrick Vonkeyserling, the city PIO. He told me he couldn’t confirm anything, but it was really really bad and that if i could use social Media: ie Twitter and our on line news paper, it would help get the word out to people up on sunshine.
With that I started posting stories and updates: “People are running for their lives” “We are going to burn to death” “3 feared missing dead” “possible corpses found near burned out Car” Over 30 updates in the first 3 hours.
The idea was to shock people into leaving their homes and not wait. People from Sunshine and the surrounding area started to tweet and call me. “should we leave?” were the questions. “Yes I replied , get out now”. People on twitter said don’t listen to us, that we were fear mongering. To witch I replied get out now or burn to death in your homes. Ron Baird called me and said.
“fuck the people on twitter just keep reporting what is going on.”
In the aftermath of Four Mile Fire , the Four Mile fire chief thanked me for our aggressive coverage early on. You helped us evacuate people he told me one day over coffee at Great Harvest Bread.
But I had taken a lot of flack from the Twitter community following the fire. At the time I was really upset by their reaction, but now I realize they were just upset viewers and readers who had no idea or access to what was really happening up in Fourmile. I did. I had a direct line to dispatch, OEM, Sheriffs, the Forrest service and I was sitting in a city open space truck taking it all in from a vantage point. I never should have paid any attention to twitter.
During the days of the fire, Boulder chief, Larry Donner told me that the fire was moving up to 40 miles per hour early on and was spreading embers the size of house shingles 1 mile in front of the flames. He said most people go into denial and under react and that’s when they get killed. He also told me it was good that I scared the hell out of everybody and made them move during the early stages.
He said, as did the Sunshine chief , the people on twitter were wrong to criticize you. “You did the right thing even though there were no deaths. “You scared people into action and that is what’s needed in a fast moving wild land fire. But criticism comes with the territory.” he said.
The sheriff was criticized for cutting the power all over the mountain area. He wanted people uncomfortable and he wanted them to get out! The truth is it is a damn wonder people didn’t lose their lives in that fire. Yep, we caused fear and shock in our reporting. We intended to. Hopefully, we helped save some lives. The alternaticve to agressive evacuations is what happened at the North Fork Fire. In hind sight we’d report it the same all over again.
I had apologized to the twitter people for a week. But it did no good. They had their minds made up. We did our jobs at Boulder channel 1. Thanks from the fire departments was icing on the cake.
Interesting Ron Baird who is a seasoned editor and Donna Marek a seasoned reporter, kept telling me. “Don’t listen to Twitter, they don’t know what you know. Just keep telling the story as it unfolds.”
Jann Scott’s Journal
from Boulder Colorado
You may say this sound like madness. Or ask what the hell are you talking about?
You won’t be saying that if radical Islamic elements of a middle eastern country drops several real nukes on American cities. Imagine seeing New York city in flames after a middle eastern Muslim country detonates a high powered nuke in lower Manhattan and renders half of the eastern seaboard uninhabitable.??
Then what I am saying won’t seem so crazy. You will wonder , how could this have happened?.
I am convinced that it will happen. I am also convinced at this point that president Obama has no idea what he is doing or is up against. He reminds me of early attempts by Brittan to negotiate with the Nazis. It was bullshit and caused WWII. I claim we are already in the early stages of WWIII. There is no negotiating with radical Islam. They are bound and determined to destroy the west put us all under Sha’aria law and live in their simple desert world alone while we burn.
So here’s my plan. Afghanistan is a lost cause. We already lost that war. The Taliban have shadow governments in most of its provenances, just waiting for us to leave. Between them and Pakistan they have the money and wherewithal to nuke us and they will when we exit Afghanistan.
Other countries of concern are Iran, actually the whole damn middle east and north Africa and North Korea.
But lets talk about the middle East. If we sent an invasion force to the middle East, conquered them occupied them and drag them kicking and screaming int the 21 century, we may be able to save the world. Otherwise we are going to burn in our homes here in America. When I say an invasion force I am talking about an allied force of 1 or 2 million troops. No fooling around. Occupy every city town mountain and out post and put an end to Afghanistan as it exists right now. Occupy it the way we occupied Japan and Germany after WWI. Build bases there and leave them there. Kill there heroin production and kill anyone who fights us. and then move right across the middle east WWII style. We have been fighting in the middle east since the 1980s and we could have ended this a long time ago. Or we can just stay home and wait for the nukes. It’s a shit sandwich and we are going to have to take a bite.
Also, as far as I am concerned Obama or Romney: they are both the same. neither are capable of leading this country from nuclear annihilation. Actually, they are both cut from the same cloth. Nice guys. Civilized. Unfortunately, there are a bunch of barbarians out there who aim to kill us all, very soon.
So this is well beyond petty American politics.
Watch this WWI channel and see what i mean: <a href=”http://www.justin.tv/military_history#/w/2969917904/6″>http://www.justin.tv/military_history#/w/2969917904/6</a>
from the land of doom
To give you some perspective, Windsor Castle was originally built by William the Conqueror in the decade after the Norman conquest of 1066. It is surround by the beautiful Windsor park In all it is the size of Boulder….well nearly
Sylvia was American English. She looked very English. We were young in love and on an adventure. She studied fashion design at Bournemouth College. I was a staffer at International Times in London.
The castle is so big it was used as a fortress and was a small town complete with everything for self sustainability. Even today as the Royals official castle and sometime summer home it maintains a staff of 400 just to keep it going.
We were drawn to one part of the castle the Crimson drawing room which stretched on for ever.
And then there was the Kings Bedroom also in crimson.
Anyway, if you do go to England this summer or any summer, do go to Windsor Castle if you want to be blown away. Yes, but go in the summer. The winter is too cold and dreary. and make sure the Royals aren’t there, because they won’t let you in.
From Royal Boulder