California Fire Situation Grave
California might be described as a “giant tinderbox” which might be ignited by saboteurs or enemy bombings, the California State Council of Defense was told at a recent meeting in Los Angeles.
Demanding that thousands of civilian defense workers be recruited to fight fires, Mayor Frank S. Gaines of Berkeley declared the fire danger so great that it would be “easier to burn us down than to bomb us out.”
“It’s no exaggeration to say that some of our combat areas on the coast are tinder boxes of flimsy wooden homes, bone dry forests and grain fields,” he said. “If a general conflagration began there would not be enough firemen to fight it.”
At the same meeting, the council, at the request of the chairman, Governor Culbert Olson, went on record as imploring the O.C.D. to hasten shipments to the California combat area.
In Washington, C. C. Cook, San Francisco. State Chief Deputy Fire Marshal, told officials of the W.P.B. that there is a great potential danger to California cities from forest fires.
He said that, although the State and San Francisco had each appropriated $3,000,000 for purchase of additional fire fighting equipment, they had been unable to get priorities for it.
While he was still there, San Francisco, through Civilian Defense Director Jack Helms and State Senator Jack Shelley, was able to get priorities for 356 auxiliary pump units. However, they apparently would be of little use for the WPB refused priorities for the necessary hose, couplings, nozzles for them. Worse than that, the pumps, mounted on trailers, have no tires.