Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Altadena View of Station Fire, Tuesday, last update

8 p.m.

So I've heard the fire is now 20 percent contained, or thereabouts. That beats the 5 percent of this morning by at least 15, though surely I'm missing some crucial exponential factor. (I never should have ditched those math classes. Though as I haven't been running for a week, I think I can get my arms -- barely -- around the concept.)

The air is heavy with moisture. We're receiving some benefits from a hurricane off the coast of Baja.

Firefighters have been working 24-hour shifts. I believe it has been 24 hours on, 15 hours off, then back to 24. Cookies and cupcakes are very nice (and certainly more than I've done so far), but perhaps we can express our appreciation in a more substantial manner. Maybe through the Altadena Fete scheduled this weekend? Just a modest proposal.

5 p.m.

From pasadena daily photo at 5 pm: Mt Wilson cam (last shot?) can be found here

2 pm update

Definitely more humid conditions around here, and that’s the good news. I’ve got some links for you, some speculation, and some questions.

To my mind, best source of information right now (and thanks to Mid Town G for pointing in this direction) the local public radio station KPCC. The website is here.

Pierre gives us a handle on comprehending 122,000 acres: “If you laid out a square the equivalent of 122,000 acres, and started out at a corner, while traveling along one side, you would need to go almost 14 miles before you reached the next corner.”
A NASA photo sent by Don Copeland here

Question about what remains at Newcomb Ranch and structures. Any info anyone?

Shrano asks: “wondering if that photo above the JPL is the arroyo seco/gabrielino trail?”

We’re still at 5% containment, though official word give us hope that might improve by evening. Hills above La Crescenta have been on fire today, lots of air-power at work. Mt Wilson still in jeopardy. In the past half-hour, I have heard no fewer than ten aircraft do a flyover, but then my house is in flightpath to the hills.)

Many photos, more info on my blogroll, including altadenablog, glimpses south pasadena, pasadena adjacent, pasadena daily photo, a thinking stomach.

(Remember, these accounts are first-person, and info seems to change often. It's just an earnest try at accuracy.)

9 a.m.

Click here for amazing photo of devastation above JPL. (Photo by Jon Cornick)

LA Times says it will be cooler with higher humidity today. Star News says it will be triple digits and as dry as ever. Can we just choose the one we like best? And that also pretty much sums up how easy it has been to put the pieces of this fire together.

The birds that normally share my yard have wisely moved on to greener pastures. But I do hear some unusual bird calls around, so I think I'm the greener pasture for a couple of species from the hills.

I'm trying to gather any information on the wilderness areas, what's still there and what's not. Bellis took her own self to Devil's Gate dam and wrote this:

"I looked at the damage from the Devil's Gate dam wall with binoculars, and the Echo Mountain trail looks untouched, as well as Echo mountain and Las Flores Canyon. Millard canyon where the cabins are may have been saved, but further up, by the Dawn Mine, it was smouldering. The Arroyo above JPL looks badly burnt."

Just from my own observation, after the fire travelled along Sunset Ridge, it took a swing to the north, thus avoiding Echo Mountain. But I don't know whether it missed Mt Lowe, etc. And I don't know the current status of Santa Anita Canyon. Apparently the fire did reach one telecommunication tower at Mt Disappointment.

This monster has now consumed 122,000 acres. I can't conceive of 122,000 acres; it's kind of like hearing about a trillion dollar deficit. Many but not all mand evacs have been lifted in Altadena. But greatest risk seems to be all around us. As a forest spokesperson said, "Pretty much everywhere right now is the hot spot."


  1. Larry Wilson's blog is worth reading today: http://www.insidesocal.com/publiceye/

    And, in the comments section, he says he's "going up into the mountains early Tuesday morning to find out. Rubio, Eaton, clearly are fine. altadena sheriff's deputy I talked to this morning said that he thought that the canyon floor of Millard survived and that thus the cabins did too -- I'll report back on this blog late morning/early afternoon tuesday and then write a column for Wednesday's paper."

    Karin, will you still be "Altadena hiker?" I don't think I'll be able to hike the burnt trails for a long time, remembering what was once there.

  2. KB will always be the hiker writer. This isn't the 1st time these mountains have been burnt through. And it won't be the last. Nature finds a way to renew itself with or without our "help."

    Where did you hear about one comm tower was damaged by fire??

    Re the weather. The truth, as usual, is somewhere between the extremes.

    I heard containment is being pushed back to about Sept 15th from the 8th. Well, like I said re the weather.

  3. I know exactly where this location is
    Maybe later with the Mount Wilson video. I'm Feeling superstitious at the moment>

    can you tell me if my video links are showing up in my post? I may be experiencing code difficulties

  4. Me again! I've just found some good aerial photos of the damage on Greg Stanton's "The Meadows" blog.


  5. Yep,PA, your vids seem to be working, for me at least. And, I think I understand your superstition about posting your MW vids at this time.

  6. Just listened to NPR, according to them Mt Disappointment had telecommunication towers and was hit by the fire. So that doesn't mean Mt Wilson was hit., in fact they said Mt Wilson was still untouched. I't looks like rain clouds over her, but it's probably just a high smoke layer.

    Putting the acreage in perspective, it is about the size of DC. (Washington/District of Columbia.)

    Need to go to work. Keep up the great vigilance AH and all the rest of the dena-bloggers, you guys have been great.

  7. Ciao Karin, today a guy from a village in the nearby said: "I was in Los Angeles. NO fire, calme atmosphere"!?!?!?? WHen I came back home I watched at tv: Fires and fires. That's horrible I think. I wish a nice day, Italo.

  8. PS. Still here, Good coverage on KPCC right NOW!
    Now I really need to go.

  9. I guess we can expect to see a lot of displaced wildlife. Today the air is full of ashes, here.

  10. how is everything around you? You okay?

  11. thanks for the great updates. just wondering if that photo above the JPL is the arroyo seco/gabrielino trail?

  12. Saw the Cornick photos and they are amazing. Glad to hear Vandy is back in home pastures.

    Watched the news last night and have read online descriptions. It's impossible to comprehend.

  13. If you layed out a square the equivalent of 122,000 acres, and started out at a corner, while traveling along one side, you would need to go almost 14 miles before you reached the next corner.

    I hope you and yours are safe.

  14. I'll go up as soon as the air is breathable, and I bet Karin will, too.

    I keep checking out my back window to see if Mt. Wilson still stands. It does.

  15. It's looking better for Mt Wilson according to their .edu website & director as of 10:30am!

  16. When I read about the acreage burned, I think about our trip to Yellowstone this summer. There are still very visible remnants of the 1988 fire 20 years later.

    Hope you stay safe!

  17. The other sad thing is that once it's all over it will be fodder for mud slides. It's going to be a long fall and winter.

  18. that live video from CBS is addictive.


  19. There will always be an Altadena Hiker! Petrea and I and a bunch of others will get you up there with us, Bellis. We'll watch the forest and hills renew themselves.

    And thanks to all of you for your information, contributions, photos, links, and just general good-will. Love it!

  20. Bellis, you and I have a date to walk the Sunset Trail. Whenever you're ready (and when it's not so hot as to be insanity).

  21. Who knows anything definitive about Mount Wilson? I'm stunned at the varying reports from news sources.

    Also, did I read correctly that there is a hurricane bearing down on Baja? A hurricane? From the Pacific? Are locusts next?

  22. The regular Mount Wilson site is down, but before they went down they posted an alternative site for updates. Bookmark this:
    Most recent report as of now was 4:15. I can see the southern towers from my Window. No smoke, no flames. Nothing like the smoke-stack I'm watching to the west over the peaks above Echo Mountain.

  23. Karin: We'll cancel the croquet match and the backstreets Huntington tour and we'll take to the hills!

  24. based on what a friend saw earlier today, parts of the area around the Gabrielino Trail are toast. But...being that dirt doesn't burn, the trail, as long as in defending the area the fire folks didn't bull doze it---trail should still be there.

    It's going to look a lot like the moon for a long time, but Gab's still going to be Gab's.

    I hiked that trail a few years running...sure sad to see those beautiful area go up, but they will be back.

    and yes, Mt Wilson and surrounding equipment seems to have had millions put into to save it, so it seems ok for now. they are offline due to T1 line being crispy.

  25. Just stopped by to check on you guys before I head to bed. I dont' know about you , but I'm ready for this "merde" (excuse my French) to be O.V.E.R.!!

  26. Oh Earl, just tell MH we'll be playing croquet on Echo Mountain and she'll come.

  27. http://joy.chara.gsu.edu/CHARA/fire.php
    was updated at 7:15 with hopeful news about Mt. Wilson.

  28. I luv your Alternative view of de Station fire. It has a genuwine horses sense about it.

    Now back to your shuffleboard or whatever you're playin with Mr E.

  29. Thoughts from down here, too. Just connected up my home-internet and you are my second stop! Stick together guys, that is what the bigh lesson here was. Stick together as friends and as a community.

    Saw some amazing footage on the teev over the last few days. A time lapse video of the smoke was mind-numbing.

    My thoughts are with you ...

  30. Thanks for the link about Mt. Wilson, Petrea. I wrote to the guy who seems to be in charge of it asking why Mt. Wilson was not better protected. It will be interesting to see if he responds and what he says.

    Hey, Karin: My word verification now is Biona. The Biona Fire. I thought that would be a good name for a fire. Why don't we suggest to the forest service that they use WV - random word generators - to name fires!