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Old June 30th, 2008, 01:16 AM   #1
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Watsonville Fire

If I mentioned half the drama I went through filming UWOL #9 you guys would have kicked me off the forum. I did mention getting trapped in a forest fire I remember. Being that I had my gear with me.... Well, I did just what you would have done.

Turns out it was a series of fires, set intentionally, by one rogue human. I believe ten homes were burned to the ground, and no people died. There were, however, many animals killed in the blaze.

Watching the firefighters go through their aerial acrobats combating this blaze was fascinating to me. Surely I did not do them justice here - flailing the camera around like my pants were on fire.. But you'll get the idea.

It's not a story. It's not a short. It's not even a video. It's just footage from a UWOLer on the run - all shot in the same hour.

Watsonville Fires, 2008
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Old June 30th, 2008, 07:53 AM   #2
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Isn't Watsonville where most our strawberries come from? I always get a few flats whenever I'm there and also a bunch of garlic when I'm in Gilroy. :)

It's always sad to see something like this. Even sadder to know that someone did it for their own demented joy. Not realizing the impact on innocent people and animals.

I think we as a society have moved farther and farther away from nature. Most kids today are content to sit inside all summer long and play on their Playstations or Wii's.

It's also all the more reason for something like UWOL to exist. To share the beauty that's out there. To educate and to make aware. Sure we have fun making these films but I think they also serve a higher purpose.

Who knows, maybe one of our challenges one round will be a PSA or something.

Ever since I read it many, many years ago, I felt this quote summed it all up pretty well...

"In the end, we conserve only what we love. We will love only what we understand. We will understand only what we are taught."
- Baba Dioum, Senegalese poet

The older I get the more I find myself wanting to educate people about nature and how it's vanishing right before our eyes and no one seems to really care.
Not many people listen right now but I feel I owe it to nature to keep trying.

I hope they catch whomever was responsible and deal with them harshly.

People are so desensitized to almost everything today.

Iowa is an agricultural state and animal rights take a back seat to almost everything. There was a guy here that was ticked at his sheepdog puppy, tied it to the bumper of his car and drug it down a gravel road.

The dog survived, was chewed up pretty bad. They took the dog away from him and fined him $50 for animal abuse and that was that.

People need to learn to respect each other as well as all living things. When you lose that respect, you have what happened in Watsonville.
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Old June 30th, 2008, 08:02 AM   #3
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Those were pretty potent images that really bring home how tragically the animals suffer in all of these disasters.
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Old June 30th, 2008, 08:58 AM   #4
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I was pretty calm while filming most of that footage, until an army of fearful shouting trucks pulling empty horse trailers sped past the grid locked traffic on the shoulder - all heading straight for the blaze. Then my heart fell into my gut..

It's amazing the contrast Kevin. You guys had way too much, and we couldn't fly it in fast enough - water. And you are right, strawberries were exactly what those workers were picking.

I was in a small fire like that once. Incredible how fast it moves. I have no idea how those firefighters do it, and I'm from a family of firemen!
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Old June 30th, 2008, 09:20 AM   #5
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I was lucky enough to document the fires in Yellowstone and Glacier N.P. back in '88 for the Smithsonian.
We were able to go to the Interagency Fire Center in Idaho and had access to pretty much everything.

It was incredibly eerie and very scary as they had embers flying over the continental divide starting spot fires miles away.
You never knew if you'd be surrounded by fire.
It really hit home when we had to learn how to use our "shake and bakes."

But what also hit home was the dedication of the people determined to stop the fires.
In the end, it was Mother Nature and her snows that finally put out the fires.

As more and more areas get developed, it's more important than ever to protect what is left.

Keep us posted Eric if they catch whoever set the fires.

Just doesn't make sense does it? We have beyond a 500 year flood and you can't get enough water.
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Old June 30th, 2008, 10:25 AM   #6
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The tragedy of a fire is always intensified when it is set deliberately by some uncaring and unfeeling person not seeing the true horror of their actions.

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