UPDATE 10 PM
Thank you: we're closing down this post early tonight, and since the Station Fire is no longer endangering Altadena and adjacent points (THANK YOU FIREFIGHTERS!) we're closing our running updates, altho' we'll still have stories and links about it as conditions warrant.
One of our favorite movie moments is in "City Slickers," where the characters talk about the best day of their lives. Bruno Kirby's character relates how, when he was a teenager, he'd finally had enough of his abusive dad and chased him from the house, swearing that he would take care of his mother and siblings, and how he did it from that day on, and that was the best day of his life. "That was your best day?" he was asked. "What was your WORST day?"
"Same day," he said.
That's been a good description of this week for us.
This has been one of the wildest weeks of our lives, both personally and professionally, and we're glad to see it end well on both counts. We cannot thank enough all of our collaborators -- that's you -- who contributed pictures, stories, links, first-hand accounts, opinions, good vibes, and energy. Thank you for your good wishes in our personal struggles as well (our wife is back home, recovering, and making a list of things for us to do under her direct supervision!)
Red-headed stepchild of the foothills that we are, Altadenans this week have shown that we come together as a community when the chips are down. We've also demonstrated, thru this blog, the other blogs, and the neighborhood newsgroups, how vital online communications are today during a community crisis. When no news or conflicting news was coming from officials or the media, your efforts turned Altadenablog into a giant self-empowered and self-correcting community information source. At the height of the fire danger, our traffic grew 100 times above our slowest day in August.
And we've gained some new readers in the process. Thank you for coming, and stick around -- the news never ends in Altadena! Thank you for joining Altadena's community news source.
We love this work. We love Altadena.
UPDATE 5:30 PM
Ash Saturday: Karin Bugge the Altadenahiker has a stunning photo on her blog of a post-fire moonscape, and promises more to come later tonight.
We're heading off for the North Lake open house! Hope to see you there!
UPDATE 2:30 PM
Leave the forest alone: Nancy Steele's recent blog entry was referenced in a couple of comments, and is well worth reading. Hard as it is to watch and wait, that is what we must do. We were particularly bothered by well-meaning posts about spreading birdseed in the forest to feed the birds -- spreading seed in the forest means bringing plants to the forest, and there's no guarantee those won't be invasive non-natives. Let's leave the forest to regrow on its own, as it has for centuries, and keep the birdseed at home for all those hungry, tired, displaced birds!
Everybody go home! Press release from the state office of emergency management says that ALL residential evacuations have been lifted at this time! Which means:
Everybody come to North Lake for the Project: Altadena Open House! Lori at Webster's Fine Stationery tells us there's going to be some kind of "do" there at 6 PM -- don't miss it!UPDATE 8:30 AM
For the birds: Lori Paul sent out an email to the newsgroups:
Dear Friends, Neighbors & Trail Users,
I am seeing species of birds at my mixed seed and nyger feeders that I either don't usually see until late autumn (juncos, mountain chickadees, nuthatches) or that I never see at all (mountain blue birds, downey woodpeckers, and even a cactus wren). Someone told me they noticed a /mountain quail /mixed in with the California quail covey under their feeder! Large flocks of band-tailed forest pigeons have been seen flying away from burning oak woodland. Those large birds depend upon acorns.
Many birds have survived the massive Station / Angeles National Forest Fire by flying from the flames; however, they now find themselves without food, shelter, and nest sites. Birds may arrive disoriented, exhausted and frightened in our trees and gardens. Local birds may attempt to chase the "intruding refugees" from their territory.
I've been in contact with colleagues at the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology in upstate N.Y. I was told, "/If there is any hope of saving small birds with bird feeders, seed needs to be put out immediately, because small birds can't survive very long without food."/ Small birds have fast metabolisms that burn energy quickly with little fat reserve.
Local residents can immediately assist birds displaced by the wildfire. Fill conventional bird feeders with seed. Nothing fancy, just any brand of basic wildbird seed mix. Scatter seed on the ground for birds that prefer to feed there and to reduce competition at feeder perches. Also put out finch feeders and seed-socks filled with black nyger seed. Suet cakes, preferred by some species such as acorn woodpeckers (many of whom have lost their granary trees) and supplemental sugar water for hummingbirds would also be of great benefit ..
Providing short term food, temporary shelter and fresh water will enable birds who have lost their homes to recover from exhaustion, smoke and stress. From bird feeders they can obtain enough energy to look for replacement habitat elsewhere in the region. Every little bit of supplemental food will help the birds.
Next spring, putting up nest boxes to replace the loss of trees and other nest sites will be helpful. There is a long recovery ahead for the Angeles Forest and wildlife habitat that has burned around us.
Thanks to those of you who can feed the birds along with the Merriam's chipmunks, western grey squirrels and other wildlife who also benefit from seed on the ground.
As deer, rabbits, raccoons and other wildlife move through the burn area and our yards, please try to be forgiving when your roses, fruit trees, shrubs and vegetables get browsed. These animals are bewildered, some are injured, and all will be hungry. Give displaced wildlife respect and room to move east and west through our neighborhoods to new homes in unburned canyons. We may even see an increase in bear, bobcat, cougar and snake incursions. Foxes and coyotes have been seeing moving across Hahamongna Watershed Park. Be alert and take reasonable precautions to store food waste properly and avoid surprise encounters.
Who are you? Many of us are going to displace our cares for awhile tonight and go to the Altadena Arts Coalition's Project: Altadena open house tonight. One of our readers in the comments (and we can't find the post, or we'd give 'em full credit!) had the idea that we wear nametags with our Altadenablog comment handle: "I'm the Chaney Trail Kid from Altadenablog," for example. We think that's a great idea, and we'll look forward to meeting many of you tonight!
The bullet: From Monica Hubbard:
Random Saturday bits and pieces. LA County cooling centers are listed here: http://css.lacounty.gov/docs/
July%202009%20Community% 20Cooling%20Centers.pdf Altadena's is closed this weekend, but the Pasadena Senior Center is open on Saturday. Others open this weekend are highlighted in yellow. As noted earlier, the Mt. Wilson Tower Cam is back in operation. http://www.astro.ucla.edu/~ obs/towercam.htm Eaton Canyon Nature Center is currently closed. http://ecnca.org/ Bill Westphal has loaded "a few" photos of the fire to his photo gallery. http://www.westphalfamily.com/ coppermine/thumbnails.php? album=16 The Co-op and Food Exchange of Altadena (COFEA) is having a discussion about garlic. Firefighters are encouraged to include aged garlic extract in their diets since it has been shown to help reduce plaque and lower blood pressure. http://www.dailybreeze.com/ news/ci_13264263. COFEAltadena has several recommendations for places to purchase garlic seeds. Find the COFEAltadena Yahoo Group here: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ COFEAltadena/ Over on the Chaney Trail listserv, residents are encouraging everyone to fill bird feeders since the birds that rely on seeds are hungry right now. The birds also need a water source for bathing and drinking. Pasadena Star-News staff photographer (and Altadena resident) Walt Mancini's photos are part of the Star-News story about the funeral procession of fallen firefighter Tedmund Hall yesterday. http://www.pasadenastarnews. com/ci_13273572 Posted earlier, but worth repeating. For those who would like to contribute, information about the Fallen Firefighters Fund is here: http://firefamilyfoundation. org/tributes/hall-quinones.php
Millard saved: Dan Abendschein of PSN has a few graphs about Millard Canyon and talks to Lonnie Fehr.