Arson seems to be the cause of one of the fires in Orange county. Make that all three in that county, I heard on televised news.
As for the rest, it's probably early days to say how they started.
It's certainly odd, even given the weather, that a series of fires broke out pretty much simultaneously all the way from Malibu to San Diego.
About a quarter of a million people have been evacuated in the San Diego area.
What I haven't heard, or read, in news is any connection with the War on Terror.
Except for a comment left on AOL News' "Raging Calif. Fires Burn Scores of Homes." I'm quoting the whole thing, exactly as it appeared, so you can get the full flavor of this pronouncement.
"jerdking 09:54:13 PM Oct 22 2007
"IMPEACH TERRORIST BUSH, CHENEY, WHAT WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION? WHILE THE NORTH AND SOUTH POLES EVAPORATE, IMPERIALIST BUSH, CHENEY ARE PURSUING FRAUDULENT OIL WARS, WHEN THE WORLD SHOULD BE ON TRACK AND BURNING CLEAN VEGETABLE OILS IN DIESELS AND CLEAN BURNING ALCOHOL FUELS IN GAS ENGINES. DUMP CRIMINAL REPUBLICONS WHO ENABLE TERRORISTS BUSH, CHENEY TO DESTROY DEMOCRACY AROUND THE WORLD. IF INDY 500 CARS CAN TRAVEL 200 PLUS MPH ON ALCOHOL FUELS, SO CAN INDUSTRY AND AUTOMOBILES. IMPEACH TERRORIST BUSH, LOVE AMERICA."
(The same comment was posted in the same place 09:54:12 PM Oct 22 2007, and 09:54:10 PM Oct 22 2007.)
Of course, that's not news: it's someone's idea of a comment on a news item.
What's the Point of this Post?Although I seriously doubt that the California fires are connected with the War on Terror, it isn't out of the question.
Attacking the western states of the United States with wildfires has been tried before. Around 1944, balloons from Japan started landing around the west coast of America. The balloons carried three types of bombs: explosive antipersonnel devices, and two kinds of incendiary devices.
All the effort the Japanese put into the balloon bomb program succeeded in some useful propaganda programming, and six American fatalities: five kids and a woman near Bly, Oregon. It looks like they were clustered around the balloon, and someone tugged at it the wrong way.
(There's a detailed, discussion of Japan's remarkable weapon system at "The Great Japanese Balloon Offensive.")
It Could Happen AgainThe habit Islamic fanatics have of using human agents, like suicide bombers, makes arson a distinct possibility.
A handful of people with weapons no more complicated than a four-gallon backpack weed sprayer filled with alcohol or gasoline could, under the right conditions, send a nearly-unstoppable wildfire toward towns and cities in southern California.