Victim of 1987 Pocatello fire has advice for those who lost homes in Charlotte Fire

When I talked to Dr. Gene Rufi in the Johnny Creek subdivision on the southwest side of Pocatello in 1987 he has just saved his house from fire.

Rufi had climbed on his roof to water down the cedar shakes as the flames of the Johnny Creek fire raged around it, sending off thousands of ambers. He had turned on his sprinklers as well, providing a space between the range fire and his home.

Just down Mountain Loop Road his neighbor Keith Staples wasn’t so lucky. The Aug. 31 fire, driven by wind, raced down the slope and quickly engulfed the cedar shake roofed home surrounded by cedars.

“We were out of town,” Staples said. “We had just come back and it was gone.”

Two miles away the Charlotte Fire burned through much of the same mixture of range land, junipers and city neighborhoods last week. The Charlotte Fire caused far more damage, burning 66 homes and 29 outbuildings.

At the time of the Johnny Creek Fire I had never covered a wild fire. I didn't realize that I reporting what would be recognized as a key factor in determining what houses burn and what ones survive -- what kind of roof they have and the landscaping around the buildings.

Rufi's watering down his roof saved his house while Staples cedar shakes and the tall cedars surrounding his house ignited. It was the lesson that Forest Service researcher Jack Cohen has taught thousands of people about being Fire wise.

A year after I was at Johnny Creek I watched as firefighters were able to save the historic log and cedar shake roofed Old Faithful Inn using Rufi's tactic. They had been helped by two weeks of thinning throughout the area by the U.S Army during that 1988 blaze.

Heath Druzin and I did an extensive series on the subject in 2007. Here is part one . Here is part 2. And here is part 3.

For Staples and his wife Janet the fire forced them to start all over. They spent five years living in a fifth wheel trailer and a truck heading south for the winter.

“We went places and did things we never would have done,” Staples said of the experience.

He feels sorry for the people who have just lost their homes but he had some encouraging words.

“Tell them the sun will come up tomorrow,” Staples, now retired said. “It will all work out.”

When he rebuilt the house in 1991 the big cedars were gone. But he kept the cedar shake roof. Old preferences are hard to kill.

1341341550 Victim of 1987 Pocatello fire has advice for those who lost homes in Charlotte Fire Idaho Statesman Copyright 2014 Idaho Statesman . All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

That's advice

Victim of 1987 Pocatello fire has advice:

the sun will come up tomorrow,” Staples, now retired said. “It will all work out.”

***

Hey Sunny, I got some advice to improve that curveball- the sun will come up tomorrow.

***

How about some real advice (or at least well written headline):

DON'T have shake shingles.
You are endangering yourself, your belongings, your neighbors and the firemen.

Invest NOW to change your roof.

And do NOT rely on having water to sprinkle your roof or trees.

Cue the redheaded girl with a dog

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You fry wants with that?

Einstein

Rocko writes, "I didn't realize that I reporting what would be recognized as a key factor in determining what houses burn and what ones survive."

***
Really?

Try this reporting Rock... try to find ONE city fire marshall officially suggesting a homeowner DEPENDS on Rufi's "tactic" of grabing a garden hose, climbing up to the roof and watering down their roof.

This DOES work,
if you are Spiderman, are home at the time, are not evacuated, have adeqaute water pressure not being used by fire hydrants, have breathing filtration, have ample time to respond, and if you have a tuna sandwich for a snack while you wait.

This is NOT a recommended tactic.

Well well, if it isn't some advice

from...bitterpimpface

And beer

You're right Joe. I forgot to include the beer.

And take plenty of beer UP to your ROOF along with your garden hose.
Then after drinking a few, you can pee on your roof too.

Then some stupid reporter will tell readers, "Peeing on your roof during a wildfire is a tactic that makes a difference in saving your house".

ok, now that's just funny.

The tuna sandwich was classic too. I have to give you that.

In the immortal words of my 4 year old grandson

What is wrong with you?

Grandma what big teeth you have

What is wrong with me, is: I can't understand this sentence:

"I didn't realize that I reporting what would be recognized as a key factor in determining what houses burn and what ones survive -- what kind of roof they have and the landscaping around the buildings."

And it's been UPDATED a lot!

What kind of roof?
Both the saved house and the burned house (in Rocko's mind) had shake shingles.

First he writes about the water technique and now it's all about the roofs- despite them being the same.

***
Do you not see how screwed up this blog is, Sosyalis?
Then there me be something wrong with YOU.

No, you.

No, you.

No, you.

Okay, time for a nap.

Grandma what big teeth you have

What is wrong with me, is: I can't understand this sentence:

"I didn't realize that I reporting what would be recognized as a key factor in determining what houses burn and what ones survive -- what kind of roof they have and the landscaping around the buildings."

And it's been UPDATED a lot!

What kind of roof?
Both the saved house and the burned house (in Rocko's mind) had shake shingles.

First he writes the key factor is water useage and now it's all about the roofs- despite them being the same. Oh yeah, and he uses "factor" followed by two different factors.

What is wrong with me, is our local daily NEWSPAPER stinks!

***
Do you not see how screwed up this blog is, Sosyalis?
Then there me be something wrong with YOU.

No, you.

No, you.

No, you.

Okay, nap time for the four-year-olds.

I let my kid get pregnant!

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You fry wants with that?

When will this *(^_( Charlotte be made to PAY?

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You fry wants with that?