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February 12, 2002
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Do you think there is a possible connection between the events (NYT headlines): Attack Possible in U.S. or Yemen, the F.B.I. Warns and Small Fire Becomes Inferno, Burning Homes in California ?
posted by semmi (28 comments total)

 
tactical wildfires... whoa... a real threat? i dunno... Who will head up the Office of Homeland Irrigation?
posted by techgnollogic at 8:36 AM on February 12, 2002


Considering all the natural disasters that Californians put up with each year, it hardly seems likely a terrorist would choose a wildfire as a weapon. It has to be something unnatural, so the idea that it was intentional is clear.
posted by tommasz at 8:39 AM on February 12, 2002


Are you serious?

If you are: No, I don't.

Aside.. love the headline. Don't infernos generally start out as small fires? Except, like, Dresden in WWII.
posted by luser at 8:40 AM on February 12, 2002


California's always burning. Doubtful that it's terrorist-related, extremely likely that it's the result of building homes in the interface zone.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:41 AM on February 12, 2002


oh, i don't think they're actually related either. but, um, nobody tell the terrorists about this thread.
posted by techgnollogic at 8:42 AM on February 12, 2002


Possible? Yes. Likely? About as likely as Tom Green winning an Oscar.
posted by pardonyou? at 8:47 AM on February 12, 2002


No.

Do I think that the post is incredibly alarmist and paranoid?

Yes.
posted by Harry Hopkins' Hat at 8:55 AM on February 12, 2002


i was just thinking last nite what if the terrorists were making a huge batch of LSD? like for real. it's the perfect weapon! make way for the love bomb :)
posted by kliuless at 9:02 AM on February 12, 2002


Time for Tom Ridge to put the kabosh on the weber grill industry. Those bastards are aiding and abetting!
posted by luriete at 9:03 AM on February 12, 2002


chicken little
posted by billybob at 9:14 AM on February 12, 2002


No, from what I've been reading, the terrorists are planning an earthquake in California.
posted by eyeballkid at 9:18 AM on February 12, 2002


No, from what I've been reading, the terrorists are planning an earthquake in California.

Also, they are planning on creating controversy at the Olympics, especially in figure skating.
posted by iceberg273 at 9:28 AM on February 12, 2002


Never mind that the warnings from the FBI were for today but the fires have been burning since Saturday, are now 50% contained, and expected to be fully contained by the end of the day.

It's nothing out of the ordinary. Although it's tragic that so many people have lost their homes, I'd think people bent on wonton destruction would attack someplace a little more densely populated than Fallbrook.
posted by LionIndex at 9:28 AM on February 12, 2002


Don't be fooled! The fire is only a diversion! Their real target is Picabo Street! Damn those weather-controlling terrorist evildoers!
posted by briank at 9:31 AM on February 12, 2002


wonton, mmmmm.
posted by kliuless at 9:34 AM on February 12, 2002


Crap. I knew I'd bungle that one, and just didn't feel like taking the time to look it up. Otherwise Chinese restaurants are in grave danger, and what I said would apply anyway--there aren't too many Chinese restaurants in the area either.
posted by LionIndex at 9:42 AM on February 12, 2002


i was just thinking last nite what if the terrorists were making a huge batch of LSD? like for real. it's the perfect weapon! make way for the love bomb :)

Right on kliuless! The middle East needs to get dosed in the worst way. Cropdust the Casbah with some of Owsley's famous recipe.
(I'm not really kidding. In support of this strategy, see Bill Hicks Finding heaven in a cow's ass).

Even if it doesn't succeed, it should force a lull in hostilities since you can't much fight a war when you're peaking.
posted by BentPenguin at 10:03 AM on February 12, 2002


it doesn't take terrorists to make chapparal burn.
posted by zoopraxiscope at 10:22 AM on February 12, 2002


terrorists causing hill fires? wow, i never thought of that, good catch. it's comforting to think that the fires which have raged through some subdivision here every single year for my entire life were not, as i had previously suspected, the result of idiot californians continually rebuilding their $millon homes in exactly the spots most likely to catch fire and/or fall off the side of a mountain, but were in fact the nefarious workings of the international terrorists all along.

thanks, man, you've renewed my faith in my fellow californians.
posted by hob at 10:28 AM on February 12, 2002


Time for Tom Ridge to put the kabosh on the Chinese restaurant industry. Those bastards are aiding and abetting!
posted by luriete at 11:14 AM on February 12, 2002




I'm surprised nobody's noted the fact that more than a dozen people were arrested for setting wildfires in Australia during the recent spell where hundreds of brush fires in hard-to-extinguish eucalyptus groves threatened thousands of Sydney residents. It would certainly be a cheap, easy, and difficult-to-prosecute type of terrorism. Though it was thought unlikely, Australians did harbor those fears when they first began shortly after the height of the war in Afghanistan, with Australia one of the more prominent allies.
posted by dhartung at 3:07 PM on February 12, 2002


"Do I think that the post is incredibly alarmist and paranoid? Yes."

Yeah, like putting explosives into a shoe to blow up an airplane, or spraying anthrax with a duster plane, or flying commercial airplanes full of people into skycrapers full of people.....one's got to be really paranoid to expect such outlandish things. Well, excuuuuse me.
posted by semmi at 5:23 PM on February 12, 2002


While the San Diego fire was by far the most devastating, there were several other SoCal brushfires going on at the same time (one about a mile and a half from my house). As the article pointed out, the real culprit was the wind. It reached highs of 80 mph at one point early Sunday, and caused scattered damage - broken roof tiles, uprooted trees, collapsed fences and power lines, and I believe a few overturned big rigs. Add that to the bone-dry landscape and it's a wonder things weren't worse.

I agree, dhartung, that in light of Australia's fires this might seem suspicious. But if it was arson, I highly doubt it was premeditated to the extent semmi suggests.
posted by brookedel at 6:23 PM on February 12, 2002


brookedel, I wasn't really suggesting anything. My daily newsletter fom NYT had these two headlines next to one another. Looking at them together the possibility of a connection occured to me, and I was wondering if anyone else had the same reaction or had further information.
As to your observation "if it was arson, I highly doubt it was premeditated to the extent semmi suggests", arson by definition is premeditated, as far as I know, and I cannot imagine how the "extent" would be calculated to get any worse, short of pouring gasoline on it.
posted by semmi at 8:02 PM on February 12, 2002


arson by definition is premeditated, as far as I know, and I cannot imagine how the "extent" would be calculated to get any worse, short of pouring gasoline on it.

Yes, my statement was poorly worded. I was trying to draw a distinction between a premeditated terrorist act - i.e. 'I'm going to attempt to cause destruction at Camp Pendleton/the San Onofre nuclear power plant via a wildfire' and a random arsonist getting his jollies off, spurred by a series of freak Santa Anas. Now, it's entirely possible to consider the terrorists just a seized a good opportunity, but given that the FBI alert came out well after the fires started, and the fact that there were several other wind-driven fires around the same time, I'd say it's likely the two weren't related. IMHO, of course.

As for it being much worse, I meant all through Southern California, not just San Diego in particular. With those winds, an errant cigarette butt could've whipped up into something huge in a very short amount of time.

FWIW, according to a local paper, authorities are investigating whether or not the San Diego fire started in area where trash was being burned.
posted by brookedel at 11:34 PM on February 12, 2002


"The earliest record of the native inhabitants of the Long Beach [California] area comes from the Portuguese explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, who arrived at this place with two galleons on October 8, 1542. They named the bay Bahia de los Fumos 'because of the numerous smokes they saw upon it.' The residents were said to light the fires to expedite rabbit hunting."
posted by Carol Anne at 5:54 AM on February 13, 2002


yeah bentpenguin, i'm not sure why the CIA isn't on it. maybe they've just figured out the consequences are just too mind-blowing to contemplate :) but if you're watching, terrorists, CIA, love bomb!
posted by kliuless at 7:41 AM on February 13, 2002


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