SfN07: The Wild Fires

October 23, 2007

I should have expected this. The search engine hits for various combinations of “San Diego”, “Fire”, “SFN”, “Society for Neuroscience” are starting to hit the blog. There does not appear to be anything posted at the official SfN 2007 website so I’ll try to relate anything I know that’s relevant to the meeting here. I imagine things will be changing rapidly in these early days of the fires.

As of 10/23/07, mid-day:

  • A map of the fires from Google Maps.
  • The SD Union-Tribune’s website.
  • The airport hasn’t been affected by the fires so far. In this regard the location and high winds have been a help, if you look at the smoke radar maps you can see the smoke blowing right out over the ocean directly from the source fires. No real concern that SfN flights will be affected.
  • I heard brief mention on the radio today that “full containment” will be no earlier than Nov 4 so concerns are relevant for Meeting attendees. In fire fighter talk “full containment” seems to mean no sparks or smoke anywhere. From the experience of the Cedar fire, what looks to be the fire being essentially “out” to the layperson may occur at least a week prior to “full containment”.
  • Housing: Uncertain. We’re in a big evacuation with over a quarter of a million residents displaced so far. I’m sure all the “extra” hotel space is being filled so the ability to do the usual close-to-arrival shifting around / upgrading, etc of the hotel rooms will likely be constrained.
  • Air quality will still be very bad by the meeting. Those with sensitivities will want to take this into account when packing asthma meds, contact lenses, eyedrops, etc.

Afternoon, 10/24/07:

  • local PBS affiliate KPBS website here.
  • new blowup on Palomar Mountain, home to the observatory and infamous playground of wannabe motorcycle racers.
  • officials are being pretty good about rapid reversal of evacuation orders where appropriate
  • folks under voluntary evac are starting to go home
  • SfN meeting website finally has a mention of the situation. No changes to the meeting are anticipated at this time.
  • We have an increasingly acute power situation developing as major power lines and other infrastructure has become compromised by the fires. Not back to Kenny-Boy’s rolling blackouts yet but stay tuned.

Evening, 10/25/07:

  • last 24 hrs has been good, the firefighters are getting some traction, fronts aren’t advancing
  • this is because the winds have died down, good for firefighting.
  • bad for air quality though, the ash and smoke just sits there over the county. finally starting to get a headache just breathin’
  • containment estimates for the old fires (Harris, Witch, etc) are running 10/39 to 11/5.  from the experience of the Cedar fires, “100% containment” is a rightly conservative concept. keep this in mind when “fearing” to come here…
  • a bit of over-the-top about the SfN meeting from Abel Pharmboy and PZ Meyer’s commenters. chill people, it’ll be okay.
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One Response to “SfN07: The Wild Fires”


  1. Thanks for the link and coming over to comment. Indeed, I am well-aware of how far the hotels and convention center are from the areas affected by the wildfires. My primary point, in fact, was that SfN might care to look extremely closely at the 2003 AACR cancellation debacle before making any alternate plans or decisions.

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