Monday, October 22, 2007
Send us your California wildfire iReports and stories
Fueled by windy, hot and dry conditions, more than a dozen uncontained wildfires raged across heavily populated Southern California on Monday, forcing more than a quarter of a million people to flee homes stretching from San Diego to the movie-star hamlet of Malibu and the scenic mountain resort of Lake Arrowhead. Fire officials said more than 265,000 people have been evacuated and nearly 4,900 firefighters are battling the fast-moving blazes, which began springing up over the weekend.

Send us your stories of what you went through, how you got to safety, and how you're doing now.

Click on the comments section below to share your thoughts online.
or send us your iReport photos and videos.

We'll be reading some of your comments and showing your pictures during the show.
And a reminder, you can always send us a v-mail. See you tonight at 10p.m. ET.
Posted By CNNBLOG: 7:50 PM ET
Watching the coverage of the wild fires just leaves you awed by the enormous area that is burning and how fierce the flames appear. My sister lives in this area and I cannot reach her so I hope she and my nephew are ok and escape the devastation of this horrible fire.

Annie Kate
Birmingham AL
Posted By Annie Kate : 9:29 PM ET
I live in the Santa Ynez Valley, up the road from Santa Barbara and the smoke is so thick here you could cut it with a knife. I don't know if it's the local fire or traveling from down South, but it sure hurts to breathe. My prayers go out to everyone losing their homes. Our firefighters are tackling an overwhelming nightmare. I thank them all. Take Care
Posted By Lorie Ann, Buellton, Calif. : 9:49 PM ET
Our thoughts and prayers go out to all of you in the Golden State tonight. Please know that you have the whole country on your side right now. We are praying and hoping that the winds die down. Stay strong.
Posted By dennie s., yuma, az. : 10:23 PM ET
I'm rooting for everyone in this tough time ! Let's keep it positive. There'll be finger-pointing about this situation soon enough.
Posted By Richard, Boulder Creek, Ca. : 10:28 PM ET
Why do places like Malibu have these fires every year and it comes across in the news like they're taken by surprise? Reminds me of places who are unprepared for snowstorms in January. Seems to me that expensive areas get more resources than lower income areas, or is just my imagination?
Posted By anne - marie j. -- boise, id. : 10:35 PM ET
Some of the places hit are where $3 million homes are the lowest price in the area. Shouldn't the federal assistance be based on need, or lack of need?
Posted By Stephen , San Francisco, CA : 10:37 PM ET
I just hope they can get to Wild Animal Park. The animals there are prisoners of us. They can't flee. They'll need human assistance if it comes down to it. Whereas humans can pack up and bail whenever they want, the animals are stuck wondering what's going on. If time permits, we have to save them.
Posted By Marianne H.- San Jose, Ca. : 10:43 PM ET
The fire that's is in Southern California is unreal. I feel for the people in Southern California that has lost their homes and land. I heard the National Guard is having to be called in. I hope they get relieve soon.

Jennifer - Anderson, South Carolina
Posted By bluediamond (Jennifer) : 10:54 PM ET
Praying for the safety of all involved, from Kentucky.
Posted By Janine, Covington, Ky. : 10:57 PM ET
Dear Anderson,

Kindest greetings from the seaside. Thank you to you and your brave team. There are no words…It has been so distressing to see the frightening images of the devastation in beautiful California. (Greece went through a similar devastation this year, it was heartbreaking to watch) What a terrifying experience for California. We are so sorry and keep them in our heartfelt thoughts and prayers. (including the dear family of the one person who sadly died and also all the injured) It was very kind of you Anderson to kindly mention the brave men and women heroically fighting the infernos in California…they are true heroes in our world. Thank you so very, very much for the compassionate coverage Anderson. I’m sure there are people crying tonight. I hope everything improves this week, although it will take time for many to put their lives together.

The “Planet in Peril” piece with the lemurs was beautifully touching and amazing. (Wow...I had no idea they made such an eerie sound.) It’s so sad to know how their natural habitat is being destroyed – very painful to see it too. Hope you are feeling okay after your blood tests Anderson, poor you. It was good of you to do that to help us understand….But just imagine how many of us are walking around without realizing that all those chemicals are still in our bodies. I didn’t know that. Wow.

I wish you and Dr. Gupta & Jeff Corwin many blessings, you surely will be. Thank you so much for all your hard work – we, along with millions of others all over the globe, will be watching tomorrow and Wednesday. Please take very good care of yourself. Goodnight from the seaside.

In deep appreciation, Gina & family in Canada

“A man is truly ethical only when he obeys the compulsion to help all life which he is able to assist, and shrinks from injuring anything that lives.”
Albert Schweitzer
Posted By Anonymous : 11:12 PM ET
My heart goes out to the individuals that live in California who are having to evacuate their homes! I look at the coverage of the fires consuming houses and I realize those aren't just shelters for people...those are homes filled with memories and traditions and to be forced to leave your home knowing that you might never enter through your front door again must be devastating. My prayers go to everyone living in the regions which are having to face this devastating crisis.
Posted By Jessica, Bourbonnais Illinois : 11:13 PM ET
I have been flipping back between CNN Headline News and local San Diego News all day. I think it is very disturbing that our society and Headline news chooses to emphasize more about whats going on with the hollywood elitist in Malibue and choses to show San Diego and the over 250,000 residents who have been evacuated, the over 500 homes , and over 100 business's destroyed. So I would like to say thank you for once all day showing some compassion and acknowledging what is actually going on here.
Posted By Jeremy in San Diego : 11:17 PM ET
It's a shame that over 1/4 million people have been evacuated from areas in San Diego, and the only thing CNN wants to show or talk about is Malibu. Money Talks...?
Posted By Anonymous : 11:23 PM ET
I was flipping the channels when I saw Bill O'Reilly's show. He said that LA was blaming the US government for not taking action in helping in the wildfires. He also retorted that the "liberal" news outlets focus on the wildfire too much and that they should focus on Matt Murphy citing NY Times, LA Times, CNN.

Well, from my perspective as a SoCal resident, first of all I respect Matt Murphy's accomplishments and courage and I wish his family and friends well. Second, I was upset when he said LA officials and residents are complaining to the federal government for not aiding in the quenching of the fires. Bush just sent National Guard troops, and there was not even one complaint from the local media in LA of lack of federal action. Us Angelenos have suffered through earthquakes and wildfires, yet we've done much of our rebuilding on our own. Third, when he said The Times front heading was the wildfires (I'm not sure if he meant LA or NY), I checked the NY times web page and the wildfire was placed as a brief headline with only one picture. Now how can you complain that the NY Times focuses on us to much. We have the LA Times, and its job is to inform not just World and National matters, but local too! How are we gonna know what's in our own backyard if we're not even reporting it. There are lives in danger and rely dearly for local news for vital information!

AS for you Mr. Cooper, I think your a great reporter (regardless of beliefs), I choose my own perspective. Mr. O'Reilly, do your homework before scathing us.

Finally to our heroes in uniform or fire suit, God bless you.
Posted By Anonymous : 12:00 AM ET
I live in San Diego, with a house in the way of the new Rice fire up by Fallbrook. It's been a very scary 30 hours, glued to the local news, which has actually been excellent in spreading the evacuation news and evac sites. I have lived here all of my 27 years and have never seen Santa Ana winds this bad. The hot wind is just relentless, spreading the smoke and fire at record speeds. As of 10pm tonight they are evacuating a huge swath of houses north of the 56, west of interstate 15, south of 78, all the way to the ocean. If you were to ask me if a fire from Ramona could manage to get to the ocean, I would have told you no way in hell. We were all wrong.

I also do have to say that the communication between the state, county, and city officials and their fire, PD's, the border patrol, and even the national guard and marines on Camp Pendleton has been excellent. We have all learned from the Cedar Fire which burned 3000 acres 4 years ago (whose anniversary is two days away, oddly enough) about how important communication is; it is very evident that officials did indeed learn. The reverse 911 calls have been very effective, and there has been a minimal loss of life in these fires.

We appreciate your prayers and thoughts and now it's time to return to my packing!
Posted By MarcieGee : 1:14 AM ET
The reason all of these things contiue to happen to the United States. It is simple as can be God is still in cotrol. God can still control us in his way,by destoying us him self. Republican thank they are god,but they are not.God does not aprove of the way we are trying to control his world and he is showing us everyday,but we have our eye's closed to him. Congress needs to wake up and impeach George W. Bush before it is to late. He is wanting to start World War III To remain in office IMPEACH HIM BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE.
Posted By Anonymous : 1:34 AM ET
I am in Orange County, Ca and nearly 16,000 acres have burned with hardly a mention by media. San Diego, Malibu, and Arrowhead aren't the only areas on fire. We need media updates too!
Posted By Brie, Orange, California : 2:04 AM ET
Just a comment - I'm watching the podcast of last night's show, and when Anderson asked about the San Diego Zoo, immediately, I thought it would have been nice to know information about the Wild Animal Park, which is farther north and east, which may be affected by the wildfires more than the Zoo, which is farther west and closer to Downtown San Diego.

It's hit close to home, as I have friends and family who may be affected by the Harris wildfire.

Lyn F., Durham, NC
Posted By Lyn F., Durham, NC : 8:24 AM ET
This is a response to Lyn in N.C. because beginning Sunday I was beginning to get scared about the Wild Animal Park, too! The fire did rage down the San Pascual Valley very early Monday and continued to burn all day, however, firefighters fought along the Park's perimeter, and I think there has been very minimal damage to the park itself. As for the animals, they were all herded and put in shelters on the Park's land and so far, I think all the animals are safe and sound.

The only damage now is animals breathing the tainted air now, but I'm sure their keepers are taking care of them.
Posted By MarcieGee : 12:01 PM ET
Regarding the wildfires in CA. First I feel for everyone who is affected by them. Second, is it not possible to utilize our military aircraft and personnel to set a massive "fire retardant air-strike" (in so many words), to fight these fires? Everyone is affected by these from businesses to insurance rates and the economy. Our gov't can send billions of dollars oversea for international problems, yet we can't supply our own country with more man-power and resources in disasters like this at a faster rate?
Posted By Anonymous : 3:30 PM ET
GOD has nothing to do with the fires. they were put up by some idiots that apparently have fun watiching wild life get distroyed.
god should punish THEM.
Posted By Anonymous : 4:43 PM ET
I am appauled that all these celebrities and rich home owners who are crying over their homes and belongs. Yes it is devastating but they have their lives. FEMA wouldn't help us other than one night in a motel and replace the food lost in our freezer when we went through back to back hurricanes in 2004. Our insurance thank God came through like a champ, as will the insurance of the celebrities. It's not like they are living in low income housing. The housing there starts around 2.5 million per home and up. Certainly they have insurance on there homes and then they will be able to replace the lost material items. Maybe not the memories, but the materials things are replacible.
Again they should be thankful that they are able to escape witht their lives. my mother in law died in a fire ini heer apartment in June of 2005. She didn't get a chance to cry and whine on the news about how many pits were served up in her bowl of cherries. She was precious and sweet and left 7 children, 18 grandchildren and 20 great grandchildren behind to ask...Why Mom? Why Nanny? She was the best and knew no friend or enemy, but all the tears in the world (and believe me there were many shed) didn't and won't bring her back to her family.
So pull up your boot straps get down on your knees and thank God you still woke up this morning instead of going oh whoa is me.
Posted By Marvin,,,Minneola, FL : 5:08 PM ET
First of all, my family's prayers are with all the people in SoCal. Secondly, every problem has a solution. Why don't the government send in fighter jets and bomb the fire and what the bombs don't blow out and cover by dirt, it will create a fire break.

A common thought from a common man.
Posted By Clem from Pikeville, Kentucky : 12:18 AM ET
Is it possible for Anderson cooper to run a piece describing what role introduced (non-native) invasive plant species such as the Eucalyptus which was imported to California years ago play a part in fueling these fires. Find out from biologist experts if the original native vegetation would have burned quite as fiercely.
Posted By Jeanne Mortimer in Seychelles : 1:24 AM ET
I'm searching in vain for any analysis of the causes of the CA fires as a group. I saw an old analysis of wildfires that said 9 out of 10 were human behavior related (which brings up a scary scenario regarding malevolent persons who would obviously not need any kind of bomb, airplane, chem or bio weapon to do a lot of damage to a region). Could you get CNN to give a report on the known or suspected causes of these strangely widespread fires??
Posted By Jim Bean : 1:50 PM ET
I don't know much, but I have learned, that everything happens for a reason!!!! I just lost my dad, my husband, and now for 3 days I have had no word if I have also lost my home!!!
Do I wish I didn't have to wait to hear? YES, but I do.
BUT!!! I do know that there are people out there risking thier lives to protect us all, and I thank them.
There are also those who will use this time to push political and personal agendas, and I pity them!!!
Posted By Anonymous : 3:20 PM ET
Now that nature has found a way to remove the over-supply of houses in Southern California, apparently the insurance companies and not the banks will be paying for the sub-prime mess. Hmmm . . .
Posted By RS : 11:54 AM ET
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