"I've seen some hard, hard places come down to smoke and ash ..." -- Joni Mitchell
Here are some critical websites today:Inciweb on Station Fire
Mandatory evacuations are in place (as of 8 PM Sat.) at the Meadows; all residences north of Loma Alta Dr. between Lake Ave. and Canyon Crest, above JPL including Camp Chiquita. We know that voluntary evacs are in place in several areas around town, including West Altadena Dr. and the Florecita area in northwest Pasadena.
Evacuation centers are established at La Canada High School (evac and shelter), 4463 Oak Grove Dr. LCF; Jackson Elementary (evac only) 593 W. Woodbury, Altadena; and Crescenta Valley High School (evac only), 2290 Community Ave., La Crescenta. We have heard on the ground that Jackson Elementary is locked up, but haven't had a chance to check it out ourselves, so caveat emptor.
As we go through the day, we urge you to check out the Comments section here, too, as all our wonderful readers are a font of good information.
A word before we begin: please check ALL media resources regarding this fire -- TV, radio (KFWB 980 AM, KNX 1070, KPCC 89.3 FM), print, and online. We're just one guy who's juggling this with two special needs kids and a wife in the hospital, hardly optimal conditions! TV has not been as big a player in this fire as we'd hoped, probably because no celebrities are in danger of being harmed. Use everything you've got!
Also: we probably can't respond to specific email requests (where do I put my animals, I'm on vacation and is my neighborhood safe, etc.) Things are coming in hard and fast. If you slog through the posts and comments over the last few days, you'll probably find what you're looking for!
Prayers go out to our firefighters, those displaced, and those worried sick.
UPDATE 10 PM
Prayers for the two firefighters lost near Acton.
it has been decided to leave firefighters in place near the Mt. Wilson complex during the night:http://www.mtwilson.edu/fire.php
Sharing some video from frequent commenter Isaac Garcia of the DC-10 making a drop on Saturday.
Just in from the LA Times (thx Monica Hubbard)
Station fire continues to grow to 42,500 acres, destroys 18 homes, threatens TV transmitters
Eighteen homes have now been destroyed by the Station fire, which has burned 42,500 acres in the Angeles National Forest, fire officials said Sunday evening.
The blaze is 5% contained. It continues to threaten Mt. Wilson, home to a 105-year-old observatory and transmitters used by television and radio stations, cellphone providers and numerous law-enforcement agencies, including the FBI, CIA and the Secret Service.
The fire is pushing toward the Acton area to the north and Sunland to the west. Firefighters were able to stop the fire from approaching homes in Glendale, La CaÃ±ada Flintridge and La Crescenta.
Two TV stations said tonight that their transmitters are threatened by the Station fire, which is burning near the communications center atop Mt. Wilson.
LA Times' fire map
View Los Angeles County fires north of La Canada Flintridge, Altadena in a larger map
UPDATE 8 PM
New firefighter deployments: Strike teams forming for Mt. Lowe: Bill Westphal says as of 5 PM firefighter strike teams are forming to tackle the Mt. Lowe motorway, where fire has crossed several spots. Firefighters are also testing hydrant water pressure on the Skyview cul de sac above Loma Alta.
Mt. Wilson in harm's way: It's not our policy to cut and paste other folk's news stories (they did the work, they deserve the eyeball count, that's what links are for!) but we're making an exception here: LA Times story, filed 5:42 PM tonight:
Station fire likely to hit historic Mt. Wilson observatory, fire officials say
August 30, 2009 | 5:42 pm
The fire burning in Angeles National Forest is approaching the historic solar observatory and television transmission towers atop Mt. Wilson, according to Los Angeles County fire officials.
The communications towers house transmitters for every major television station in Los Angeles.
“We expect it to get there in the next two to four hours,” said county fire Capt. Mark Savage.
Crews were clearing brush around the structures, but fire officials were not sure if they could leave personnel on the mountain to fight the flames because of the danger and limited escape routes. The fire is less than two miles away.
“It’s a serious situation,” said Bob Shindelar, operations branch director of California Incident Management Team 5. “Is the observatory going to make it? We’re doing everything in our power. But I wouldn’t be surprised if it is impacted by fire today or tomorrow.”
-- Joe Mozingo
Sam Nemati reports as of 5:30 that the voluntary evac is lifted for Crestford Dr. area.
Missing links: Getting good report of this scanner website:
which includes chatter from the water-dropping choppers. Will definitely check it out tomorrow.
This link will lead you to the Alert LA County Emergency web page, where you can register your cell phone number, VOIP phone number, and email address to be notified in case of emergency:
Also good to know: LA Fire, which does update:
And LA county's information portal, which has press releases -- the latest includes evacuation sites and pet evac sites:
UPDATE 7:30 PM: Back from a necessary pool break with the children, who are now more controllable! Thanks to all of you feeding information into the comments section -- we are so grateful for our readers and reporters, helping keep the community informed.
It was kind of a working break -- we were in the Floricita area, and it was like Saigon, 1974 -- mulitple choppers overhead and firefighting tankers, taking on the hillsides and Mt. Wilson. This is a major effort, and easily the biggest story of 2009.
We're going through the emails, and will be filling in periodically through the night.
UPDATE 3 PM: Only here for a few minutes -- the kids have been invited to a pool party, and REALLY need to get out of the house -- will have fuller updates in the evening. However, it is grand to see the sky clearing and he helicopters making their drops. Woo-hoo!
Also, we have lifted the moderation on comments (we went to moderation because there was an attack of libelous comments awhile back). The comments and information they share have been so valuable that we want 'em out ASAP. So please, the comment boards are for fire information only (compliments are nice, too!) Anybody who wants to namecall, spam, go off-topic, or troll (and we've already had one of those today) will be erased as soon as we find them and banned for life without possibility of parole, as we are not in a mood for nonsense today.
The bullet: no new evacs in Altadena, and the mandatory evacuation areas remain so now. Alice Wesson of the Chaney Trail fire council says she observed a flareup around Zorthian ranch, so we're not in the clear yet.
Meantime, here are members of the Altadena Town Council posing with some pol earlier today.
Evacuation Center: Lonnee Hamilton checked it out:
UPDATE: I drove by at 10:30pm last night. Jackson Elementary is closed. I drove to La Canada High School and spoke directly with the Red Cross public information officer there. He told me that La Canada High School is the evacuation center for Altadena.
La Canada High School seemed very well equipped. The Red Cross has already set up, along with the Humane Society.
I spoke with Humane Society worker Bob Fiddler, and the one thing he asked is that if people do need to evacuate with their pets, it's better to take the pets directly to the Pasadena Humane Society rather than to the evacuation center.
The pets have to sit in crates under the shade at the evacuation centers until they can get them to the Humane Society. It's more comfortable for the pets to just be dropped off at the Society than spend time sitting in a crate.
If you have other volunteer info to add, please do so here: http://rosecityobamaworks.ning.com/forum/topics/la-canada-altadena-...
UPDATE 10 AM: Sorry, folks, but we will be out of pocket for several hours to make a hospital visit. Please continue to send us your news and observations -- we'll play a mighty game of catch-up when we return. And make use of all your other media resources -- radio (rumor has it KFI 640 will be covering fires today), TV (if some celebrity's in danger of getting singed), and the PSN and LATimes newspaper sites, which are very good. We'll be using those plus scanner in the interim.
UPDATE: 9:45 AM: We usually make a special post when we've hit a significant number of page views. We've hit 175,000 today -- almost 10,000 since midnight GMT Saturday. This is it. Moving on ...
Sitrep around town: Monica Hubbard has sent this compilation from the newsgroups:
1. I drove over to Lincoln and Loma Alta this morning. Per the Sherriff, no further activity in The Meadows last night. Very smoky outside this morning. Still not allowing people into The Meadows. Per a neighbor, all but a skeleton crew of firefighters pulled out of The Meadows at 7:30 p.m. (Not verified with the Fire Department.) Per a neighbor, the fire did come into The Meadows on the vacant land on the west of Risinghill Road at the top of the road but was extinguished by the flame retardant that was dropped repeatedly over the hill. Also, per a neighbor, Theo's house at the very top of Risinghill was protected by fire crews. If anyone has other updates, please email to me.
Meadows FireSafe Council (Greg Stanton)
2. The sheriff is stationed at Loma Alta and Glenrose. They said they have orders-if you walk, bike, or drive past them, they have orders not to let you back in. For your own safety. So if you have to get something-take your exit pack with you. Eric McCalla
3. They are not making any exceptions. The deputies at the corner of Fair Oaks and Loma Alta can see my front door and they said if I pass them I can't go back. David Wilson
Air power: The scanner-monitoring Tom Rosebrook says that, due to smoke, air attack will not begin until at least 10 AM. Rumor has it that a superscooper will be on its way today from Ontario, CA, to protect Mt. Wilson.
UPDATE, 8 AM: A few new websites to check out:Inside SoCal has a list of links.
Firefighterblog has information
If you don't have a police scanner, this may be an adequate substituteLA Times' Fire Map
Lonnee Hamilton's Obamaworks blog lists ways you can help.
Pets and Cars: Laura Graham emails:
Two notes for evacuees: We have a small but fenced yard and can put up pets and small livestock, goats, chickens, etc. We also have a spare Queen bed and sofa if you need a place to shower and lay your head for the nightSecond, the parking lot at Ronnie's Garage on Lake and Morada is available for any vehicle that needs to be brought off the hillside. Just drop it off and call me at 626-543-4844. Any help I can provide, call too.
Report on the ground: Weather guy and Camguy Bill Westphal, who weathered the night at home despite evacuation orders, gives this report at 7 AM:
View is the same as yesterdays. No visible flames today, but then again not much is visible :-) Winds shifted last night and are now out of the North blowing the smoke down on us. Neighbors who stayed, despite mandatory evacuation orders, kept watch during the night ready to alert the others if needed. Thank you to you all. It was a wonderful and heartwarming experience. Current Conditions:
Temperature 74.7°, 10% Humidity and wind from the Northeast (27°) at 4 MPH. Forecast is for clear skies and 100°. Just heard the first Helicopters. Situation looks better at this point. Altadena WeatherCam set another one day record yesterday with 14,677 hits from 2,480 unique viewers. WOW ! Looking forward to a better day.