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Wind Gusts Cause Southern California Fires to Escalate

A Los Angeles Times news article has reported that area winds have caused the spread of intense fires in the region, and lead to extremely reduced visibility. This fire is the latest in a string that have plagued the region in what is becoming its driest winter ever. The winds and fire have so far severly damaged three homes, and have caused around 120,000 homes to lose power. The winds have also created problems for drivers, and winds in the upper atmosphere have reached speeds of up to 140 miles per hour. An ordinance requiring all houses to be rid of wooden roofing by 2013 might end up being advanced to sooner date by the mayor.

Being in the LA Times, the location of the fire, the article is very rich in detail about the incident. The lead gets across information the problem very early on and describes some of the dmaage caused by the fire already. The significance of the fire is then elaborated on, and there is a type of chronology about the outbreak and prevention attempts. A National Weather Service employee is quoted to good effect describing the extent of the problem, direct attribution. There is a section about how the storms and fire have affected driving as well. Direct attribution is also used when talking with homeowners on the street where the fire broke out, as well as those working in the vicinity at the time, and this gives the article a human touch. It's a detailed article about the incident intended to serve the community.

The coverage of the story in the Saint Paul Pioneer Press is understandably different, and is an Associated Press article. There's a lot less detail, and almost no attribution except at the end of the article from the highway patrol, and a bit of the human element from victims in the middle of the article. All the same basic information related to the extent of the fire's damage and history remains. It's trimmer and less interesting.

I guess I prefer the LA Times' coverage of the article, even though it's not really as relevant to the rest of the country as it might be to LA. There's a lot more detail and it flows nicer. The AP article in the Pioneer Press though goes quicker and delivers the same basic information ,and probably succeeds better outside of LA as just a nice basic hard news story.