Sunday, August 30, 2009

10 p.m. sunday, last update, altadena fire

When the fire moves on, there's a great feeling of relief, I can't lie about that. But how good can you feel if all it has done is pack its bags and move closer to someone else. Heroic, heroic efforts have been made by firefighters, but I don't think the end is in sight. Things seemed quiet on the western front tonight (I've been so wrong so recently about that), but flames were leaping to the east.

A good site to visit is here

Go to Jimson Weed on blog roll, startling photo.
Two things to look for in comments: Greg Sweet update on Chantry Flats. Bill Smith's photos of our hills (look under anon comment 31).

I was about to complain about smoke smell and headache, but scratch that. Sadly, sadly, sadly ... I just heard that two fire fighters died near Acton.

5 p.m.
Chris Brooks joined me to take some pictures. We jumped out of the car when we saw this group -- neighbors who are determined to make the best of things. They were charming. I'm the disreputable one in red.
Actual update to come, but these folks lightened my heart.

2 p.m.
It doesn't look as good as I'd hoped. Took some shots from Fair Oaks/Alta Loma, and fire is merrily bubbling away, but on the north side of Sunset Ridge. Met a hiker friend of mine who lives at the junction, and he said it looked far better than yesterday and was no longer worried. I dunno, guess I worry more than most.

Fire has obviously run along the eastern ridge, and is now parallel to streets east of Lake

From Mt Wilson webcam, this hour:

Here are some thoughts [edited] from neighbor Greg Sweet. Read the comments for his update on pack station.

"At times like these it is hard to remember, but what so many of us love about Altadena is the wildland interface and the rich history of The San Gabriels. So, for those that are interested, I will speculate to say that Newcomb's Ranch is in big trouble. Keep in mind that this is not journalism, just me taking an educated guess. The Mount Wilson Observatory site mentions that one of the observers was "going to join his wife's family who lives in the interior of the San Gabriels, but an evacuation has been ordered for their area as well." I know that one of the ladies that works at Newcomb's is married to one of the observers, she told me so herself. It seems logical the evacuated area in question is Newcomb's Ranch, as well as nearby Chilao recreation area...

There is a little cafe on the Angeles Forest Highway whose name I can't remember that is the most likely to have been lost already.

With the emphasis on structure protection there is hope. I will do my best to find out the status of these various facilities that have long been enjoyed by our community, and update when I know anything." (Greg Sweet)

8 a.m.

One last word before I pick up my Snickers bar award for panicked reportage (thanks Mid Town G), media coverage was so dreadful, or non-existent, that many, many people turned to the blogs to supplement their info. Yesterday I had more than 800 hits, 50% were from new visitors. visitors were in the thousands perhaps. As Tim said, Whiskey Tango Fred (ok, I forget what the F is).

Also, thanks for the moral support from those of you I know, whether I know you in person or virtually, which almost feels like the same thing. You've been great.

For some astounding pictures and videos, please visit the following folks on my blogroll:

Pasadena Adjacent, Pasadena Daily Photo, Glimpses of South Pasadena, West Coast Grrlie Blather


  1. KB, I can see someone in your neighborhood was totally prepared! Even her car got protected from the ash!

    Have goggles and a protective air face mask to to outside with?

    I hope you guys don't have many looky loones up there complicating things for the residents & ER people, and bringing the population of AD temporarily up to Manhattan density.

    I think the worse is over for AD & LCF. And KB. I think, I hope. I haven't renewed my fire fighting credentials in some time.

  2. Strangely, there are actually a few people out bike riding and jogging today.

    Keep up the good work, Karin!

  3. I have also had a lot of email as well as a huge increase in traffic with people looking for information.

    I need a snickers.

    This smoke is really freaking me out.

    Thinking about you, Karin. XOXO

  4. This is a whole new set of canyons that I can't connect to a place but have probably visited. I still don't know if the ranger station went up in flames. I'm concerned over a poorly cared for black cat that Mary nearly grabbed on our last hike behind the station

    I'm going to give my cartographer friend a buzz. He works for the city and does all the map work for the helicopter/man drops. If he's not on the fire himself.

    crap... this is so depressing

  5. Hate the smoke, but it's better than the flames. Glad you're weathering through.

    F is Fox? Maybe? ;-)

  6. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot. I have no idea how or why I know this.

    Looks like a good day to stay inside. If you feel like jogging, I have a painter's respirator you can borrow as long as you don't mind sounding like Darth Vader.

  7. Watching the fire on TV news from these parts today is like having Smell-a-Vision!

  8. I've been turning to the blogs for the most recent updates - your site was the first stop for me this morning. Thank you for keeping us in the loop!

  9. Here's a link to a map that shows current fire zone.,0,7464337.htmlstory

  10. This is good, good news, now to get through the rest of it which I'm sure will be difficult. I don't know exactly what conditions brought this on but I'm hoping you have a glorious spring.

    We had terrible, terrible coverage for Ivan and now, every time the Gulf farts or the wind picks up, the TV starts sounding like a military command center. It makes me want to throw a brick through it. You're prolly better off working in and through the blogosphere. Most likely the media are scrubbing the blogs for their info anyway. Get some sleep, you've earned it. And glad to hear about Vandy.

  11. Thanks for the info. I actually stumbled upon your blog after reading a comment you left on another blog regarding the fire. I'm trying to gather as much info as I can.

  12. Great Link Laurie, now I have to worry about my friends in Sunland.

    I hope everyone there still plays it safe, based on my experience the fires can change direction at will.

    Check this out, Fire this month in Athens Greece:

    At least they are smart enough to build out of concrete and lost very few homes. It continues to annoy me that the dept. of building and safety allows rebuilds out of sticks.

    Stay Safe!

  13. Update from Loma Alta: A woman who is in eva area but staying put reports the hill is no longer on fire.

    I worry about the displaced wildlife. All except the flies. And we suddenly have a lot of them.

  14. Oh, and here's a bit of trivia. Did you know the firefighters who rush in to do groundwork (fire breaks, etc.) are called "hot shots." I like that.

  15. It's not looking good for Mount Wilson. Fire at Markham Saddle?

  16. Pack Station update: No news is not really bad news, but valuables are getting packed up, and a stock trailer is on stand-by for the donkeys. They would go to either Santa Anita Racetrack or Loma Alta Equestrian Center.

  17. Definitely behind Sunset Ridge! I can see that the fire is well involved in Millard Canyon, and branches thereof such as Saucer Canyon and Church Canyon, where Joseph Chapman extracted the timber for the mission at Los Angeles.

  18. SCORE!! What a great resource (

    Thanks Karin!

  19. This blog is a great resource, as are all the other bloggers and commentators, thank you so much. The media have totally let us down - maybe they all live at the beach? I was surprised to see on the Angeles National Forest website that the forest is only partially closed. I'd have thought that it should be closed everywhere while this weather continues in case an arsonist, careless smoker or car engine starts another fire.

  20. Thanks for the Mt Wislson/Chantry Pack Station info, Mtn Man!
    I feel uneasily comfortable that Mt Wilson & the donkey/mules will be protected. Heck, even the CIA/FBI depends on Mt Wilson for their communications!
    I knew yesterday there were plans for the Pack St animals safety. So, may y'all draw some comfort from this.

  21. I've met the male half of that couple you speak of Greg over at Newcombs ranch. There is a ranger station on a backroad behind the camp grounds (and that newly built nature center) uggh

    Does this mean that all the cabins in Millard canyon as well as the campground are gone? and what about areas such as Switzers and Mount Lowe?

  22. Glad to see a smile on your face. I hope you and your horse are far from peril. Thinking of all my friends in Altadena and La Canada.

  23. Karin,thank you for your coverage. This is very helpful. You're awesome.

  24. Nice to see you in de Red, KB. And your neighbors...all smiles. Just another Sunday afternoon in the park.


    Here's a caption for your new neighborly pics: "Hey!, Did We Scare You All!"

    Glad to see a smile on your faces.

  25. Send me a hot "hotshot"!

    Thanks KB for your great photos and your updates. Your virtual friends needed to know how you all were doing. I think i can breathe a sigh of relief now. I sincerely hope so. Bless you all .
    PS I know how Laurie feels. When we lived in Ft. Lauderdale and the EVerglades burned, the smell of smoke in the night was frightening.

  26. I didn't know any of this was happening till I made a routine stop at your blog. Crazy.

    And one more thank you for the coverage. Can't imagine what's (not) up with the media.

  27. Wonderful coverage Karin. Thanks for keeping everyone posted. My thoughts are with you all.

  28. The pack station at Chantry Flat has not had to evacuate yet. This afternoon I talked with the relief crew (cabin owners) that told me the mother/daughter ownership team were taking a break from it all. This was probably about recharging for the next round rather than relaxing.

    I couldn't get too close to Millard/Chaney Trail to learn the news, but from Loma Alta park it looks as though most of the canyon burned. I will send out some emails to the management/pr folk.

  29. It is a sad relief, I agree, but a real one. Lost trees, lost homes, lost lives, so much lost.

    But there is a very selfish part to me, and the thought of those who I care about in this community able to keep their homes and their possession makes me feel great relief.

    You're doing a great job.


    I hope you can see these photos, taken Friday/Saturday?, from South Pasadena, by Bill Smith,

  31. Red suits you, KB.

    And yes, it's "Foxtrot." Military abbreviations. I heard it on an episode of "The Unit" once, and retained it as I don't like to use bad words but they are sometimes necessary.

    And the hitcounter has been spinning like the jackpot at Circus Circus. Thousands of hits? I've been getting TENS OF THOUSANDS of hits a day. It's pretty humbling!

  32. Great to see smiling faces kicking back in your hood.

    It still boggles my mind that the network new coverage is so weak.

    Sleep well my friend.

  33. Take care, all. I'm thinking of you, and the animals.

  34. Adams' Pack Station at Chantry Flat just got the mandatory evacuation notice - 7:30am. Going to help out (the barn kitties come to me). Also one mule, 12 donkeys, 6 goats, and 5 laying hens.