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Woolsey Fire, November 8, 2018


By John M. Malecky May, 2019

Woolsey Fire
November 8, 2018
Alan Simmons Productions

Available from:
FSP Books & Videos
188 Central Street
Hudson, MA 01749-1330

Price $12.95 (DVD)

This DVD is 47 minutes in length. It is footage of a fire that was reported at 2:24 P.M. in the Woolsey Canyon near the boundary line of Ventura and Los Angeles Counties in California. Pushed by Santa Ana winds of between 50 to 70 mph, it spread close to 100,000-acres in less than two days, causing three fatalities and destroying 1,643 structures.

High winds, very low relative humidity, water problems and a heavy accumulation of drought stricken fuel attributed to this massive fire. It was fought by 3,242 firefighters from strike teams throughout California and the western states. The fire coverage is not narrated except for face-to-face communications between firefighters. There are skips to different sections as there are many close ups of the operations.

Except for the absence of heat and smoke, you are there! You are there amongst burning structures, autos, power lines and vegetation. A number of restaurants that used to be and are gone for the time being can be viewed. Heavy streams, handlines and chopper drops all lent to the defeat of “red devil.”

In the many years that I have been reviewing videos for this newspaper, I have never seen such heartbreaking footage of homes and neighborhoods, many of which were in affluent areas. There are scenes from specific sections, none of which I can relate to since I am not a westerner, but nevertheless show devastating destruction. A segment towards the end of the coverage is entitled “The Day After”, highlighting a large host of scenes and the appearance of wartime bombings in some respects.

Day and night coverage is included in this valiant fight, some of which was daylight obscured by heavy smoke, giving the appearance of night!

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John MaleckySenior Columnist

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