NOTE: THIS POST WAS CLOSED AS OF ABOUT 2:30 PM TODAY.
EVERYTHING AFTER THAT IS IN THE POST ABOVE!
"I don't like Mondays ..." The Boomtown Rats
Welcome to another day of firefighting, news, and rumor control!
For those new to this news site, please note that the news section is like an iceberg -- only 10% is exposed. Much of the most valuable information is in the comments we get from readers and residents, so please check out the comment section, too.
And, again, for those who are new here: please don't email us with personal requests, such as "where are the evacuation centers" or "where can I put my pets?" or "how can I help?" if you expect an answer. It's going to be a busy day and we're too busy shoveling to do research! Drill through the stories and comments of the last few days, and most of your questions will be answered. If not, ask your question on the comment page, and the wonderful hive mind of Altadenablog readers will no doubt have an answer!
What it looks like for Monday: along with the continuing fight to preserve people and property in Altadena, La Canada-Flintridge, Acton, Glendale, and points between, we think the big story will be the battle for Mt. Wilson. Besides the historical observatory buildings (this is where they discovered the universe is expanding), the top of the mountain is the communications hub for Southern California -- an antenna array that services most of the TV, radio, and cellphone traffic. The area has been evacuated except for firefighters who remained there overnight. Don't worry if you can't surf to the Mt. Wilson Towercam -- the URL has gone worldwide, so it's getting a lot of traffic right now.
Firefighters last night were gathering in parts of East Altadena that have so far escaped evacuation, so we'll be watching that closely.
Let's get ready to rumble!
WARNING: bookmark this URL to get to this page. We've discovered that if you conduct an "Altadenablog" search on Google right now, it will point you to several sites that will try to load malware on your computer. It's pretty insidious -- it will not allow you to surf away nor shut off the browser unless you click the "Yes" button on the "Download antivirus software now!" box. We have a Mac and know a few hacker tricks to shut down a recalcitrant browser, but others might not be so lucky.
Also discovered same on websites that say "Altadena Fire Hottest Info."
UPDATE 2:10 PM
Still evac'ed: Per scanner, Loma Alta between Fair Oaks and Lake is still closed.
Should I stay or should I go? Got this message from Cathy Gott:
Hi - It's Cathy Gott & I'm watering at Danny's Farm & just got this note from our next door neighbor in La Vina:
[Name withheld] just went home to check on her house and lock it and close her gates. The police told her to leave her gates open and the house unlocked when they told her to evacuate. I would have locked my house.
Anyway she was allowed to go up after being checked. She was at her house for 10 minutes and left to go back to her hotel to check out and pick up her clothes. When she went back down the hill she was blocked by cop cars and was told once she left she can't come back in. They are not letting anyone in since they have a new report. She was just there around 12:24.
UPDATE 1:30 PM
Altadenan Jaime Rosier of Houndhikers.org (she took care of our late Ben when we went on vacation) sent us this:
Just wanted to put the word out to you guys that I am helping folks out with small animals, and some coordinating of large animals. Whether they need water, transportation or info on where to go, I am here to help. Spent all day Saturday helping evacuate people and animals, relocate horses, goats, dogs and cats. People can call anytime of day or night or email me directly. I do not receive text messaging. To easily recognize my vehicle I have put an animal rescue sign up on the back of my green Jeep Cherokee.Jaime Rosier
UPDATE 1 PM
EVACUATION NOT LIFTED: OK, we went to the Lake/Loma Alta corner at 11:40, and again at 12:40, and it was still sealed tight. Comments and mail say the evacuation is still in place.
We received information on an 11 AM opening earlier this morning, and said we would wait on that info until it was confirmed because we didn't want to create a problem. An email went out confirming that from a member of the sheriff's community advisory council, not to be circulated. We were told by council chairman Gino Sund by phone that this was in play, and he would send an email when it was confirmed. When we didn't get anything by about 11:10, we emailed Gino back and he said, because the earlier memo went out, he wasn't planning to send an announcement that evac had ended -- and he also hadn't gotten a confirmatory call from the county supervisor's office. So we're sorry about the confusion, but we were trying to be careful and exercise due diligence.
Having said that, the scanner just announced (1:08 PM) that the Meadows and La Vina are open, and the only closure is on Loma Alta between Fair Oaks and Lake.
UPDATE 11:15 AM
EVACUATION APPARENTLY LIFTED: We have just received word that the evacuation is lifted as of 11 AM. All evacuees may return, Meadows and La Vina are open. The only exception is the east part of of Chaney Trail, and not all will have driving access. An email has gone out to that effect, but town council chair Gino Sund says he's stll waiting for a call from the county supervisor's office to confirm. Let us know what happens!
and on that note, we have to take the kids to lunch! We'll be back shortly!
UPDATE 11 AM
Waiting for big news. In the meantime, we got videos: Yuri Beregov shares with us three cool videos of firefighting aircraft in operation:DC-10
UPDATE 10:30 AM
Housekeeping detail: we've decided to reverse the order of the comments to reverse chronological -- in other words, the latest stuff will appear first and the older stuff will be pushed down the page. Let us know if this works for you! This whole week has been a symphony of improvisation! UPDATE: Well, it doesn't appear to be working!
UPDATE 10:00 AM
Chaney Trail - still no re-entry: scattered newsgroup reports of people returning to Chaney Trail neighborhood if they show ID to the deputies. However, Alice Wessen of Chaney Firesafe Council says evac orders are still in place.
Air quality - there is none, stay indoors!: Here's the AQMD's take on air quality today (hey, Sam Atwood!)
UPDATE 9:15 AM
I just posted some website satellite info on the blog on the fire in the backcountry. here is an image that goes with it - perhaps of interest. Red - last 12 hrs - orange last 24, yellow since jan1. Holy cow.
Mt. Wilson road was closed at 6 AM this morning, engulfed in fire, cutting off another access to the observatory and antenna array.
UPDATE 8:45 AM
Firefighters leave Mt. Wilson: Latest (7:50) from the Mt. Wilson fire page:
Monday, 31 Aug 09, 7:50 am PDT - At 6:25 this morning, fire crews were instructed to withdraw from Mount Wilson. Larry Webster and Dave Jurasevich left the mountain with them. I have just spoken with Larry and Dave when they reached the bottom of the Angeles Crest Hwy in La Canada, and they report minimal fire activity in the immediate vicinity of Mount Wilson. It is not clear why the withdrawal decision was made nor whether or not the fire crews will return. Those fire fighters joined other crews deployed at the Red Box turnoff to Mount Wilson, five miles from the Observatory. So, they are still within close proximity for redeployment. Thus, the good news is that the fire in the Observatory's vicinity seems to have diminished. The bad news is that there are no fire fighters presently on the scene.
UPDATE 8 AM
Superscoopers away! Getting from several news sources that two superscooper planes have arrived at Van Nuys airport, with one more on the way. THAT'S what we're talkin' about!
Pets need help: Relaying from Debbi Swanson Patrick (one of the Mighty Altadena Bloggers):
Pasadena Animal Shelter is in need of crates, blankets, towels, bowls, toys, anything you can share for the animals that are now displaced due to the fire. They are open round the clock. There is a desperate need, please help...... ...if you can.....PHS
361 S Raymond Ave
Pasadena, CA 91105-2687
Please also remember that Steve's Pets here in Altadena has volunteered to take in animals, as has Laura Graham (check the Sunday entries for contact information).
UPDATE 7:30 AM
Ya gotta eat: Ken Chow sent this to the McNally newsgroup:
I just had a chat w/ the Sheriffs currently stationed on Loma Alta and Fair Oaks.
FYI in case you need groceries or food, they will allow family/people/ vendors to deliver them however they'll have to meet you on the corner of Loma Alta and Fair Oaks. I know that isn't the best news, but at least we have some alternatives that we could make do with.
Just thought everyone should know. Hope this is helpful.
PCC holding spots: Classes begin at Pasadena City College today -- mandatory attendance this week -- but they're holding spots for the fire-challenged, says PSN:
Typically, attendance is mandatory the first week of the new semester but officials will waive that requirement for students in Altadena, Pasadena and La Ca ada Flintridge affected by the Station Fire and evacuations, said PCC spokesman Juan Gutierrez.
Mt. Wilson: The situation according to their fire site:
Monday, 31 Aug 09, 6:10 am PDT - Larry and Dave report that fire fighters are preparing to set more back fires below the broadcast towers, but otherwise things are calm on the mountain for the present.