Friday, May 17, 2013

Newsmedia Fire Illiteracy

As I watched multiple live streams of LA-area television news coverage of today's fire in the Santa Clarita Valley I was struck at the ignorance of those talking from both studio and the scene as it relates to the ways of wildland fire and firefighting tactics. It seemed to me that throughout the incident the guys in the sky and the gals in the studio were making asses of themselves by making statements that did not in any way accurately describe what was going on and what might reasonably happen with the fire's behavior and future track. The worse offense was the guy in the sky for one news outlet which shall remain unmentioned who suggested the fire was burning into Castaic Lake and would soon be corralled. However, it was clear the winds had shifted and the fire was burning more northward and parallel to the lake with all sorts of flanking problems on the left flank and spotting up ahead on the west shore of the lake with the obvious potential of the fire spotting across the lake and getting established in Canyon Country to the east. I have observed this sort of lazy ignorance for decades and marvel at it given one would assume these people would learn about this stuff through osmosis since we deal with it as residence (and they as observing "journalists") year after year.

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