Saturday, August 29, 2009

Too Close for Comfort

The rest of the world loves to say that Californians don't know anything about weather. Sure, we have a lot of days that are mild and sunny. And I'll grant you that we don't know much about blizzards. We enjoy an inordinate amount of beautiful days, but like most pretty creatures, California is temperamental. And when she throws a fit, it's usually a doozy. There is nothing mild and breezy about earthquakes, floods, mudslides...

...or fires.

100+ degree days and gusty winds have given local firefighters a challenge. The Station Fire has grown into an out-of-control blaze, consuming 5100 acres above nearby La Canada/Flintridge. And when I say nearby, I really do mean nearby. The above picture was taken from Via Del Rey at noon yesterday. The giant plumes of lavender smoke billowed throughout the day as most of San Gabriel Valley rubbed red eyes. By nightfall, the hills burned a crackling, surreal orange.

Check out my overflow blog for my dramatic night wildfire images from Pasadena and South Pas. You'll find links for fire coverage from other local bloggers too.

UPDATE: 10:45AM The fire has spread to 5500 acres and is only 5% contained. Be sure to click the links off my overflow blog post for even more photos and information from other local bloggers.

UPDATE: 12:20PM Evacuations begin in Altadena. 7500 acres are burning. Partial closure of Jet Propulsion Laboratory. More info here.

UPDATE: 3:15PM Huge smoke plumes blanket the skies north of South Pas. The view from Raymond Hill is staggering -- flames leaping across most of the mountainside. La Canada residents flee, fire closing in on more of Altadena. Check out Altadenahiker's latest post, especially if you can help a family that needs to move animals right away.

UPDATE: 6:45PM Station Fire now burning 20,000 acres and moving in every direction. Structures in Big Tujunga burned. Fire came close to communications stations for LA Basin located at Mount Wilson. Evacuation area expands. Details here. As the sun sets, Los Angeles has a very uneasy feeling.

11 comments:

Mister Earl said...

I just drove up Fair Oaks toward the business district of South Pasadena. The entire mountainside at the top of Fair Oaks is dotted with fire. It stretches from the top of mountainside down to the bottom. How close it is to houses in Altadena at the top of Fair Oaks is hard to tell, but it's not very far at all. I've never seen anything like this, even on the TV news.

Judy Williams said...

YIKES!!! I am sending cooling thoughts to you guys.

xoxoxo

Yakpate said...

Yes, Southern California's four seasons... Mudslide, Earthquake, Smog and ... The Season of the Witch... Wildfire.

On Thursday I drove back from Simi Valley on the 118 and the smoke hovered over the mountains like a bruise-colored blanket. But... when you actually see the fire, no matter from what distance, it truly stirs a primal fear.

Laurie said...

Earl, I'm heading out in about an hour with my camera. This is much more dramatic and terrifying than the Malibu fires I saw when I lived in Venice in the 90s. Sounds like it's particularly aggressive since so much of this brush hasn't burned in decades.

I'm so worried about our friends in the hills.

Double "D" said...

I just checked your overflow blog.
They are incredible photo's Laurie, just don't get
to close if you can avoid it. I wish I could send some
of our midwest rain your way.

In my opinion, fire creates more fear than any tornado.
Please be safe and our thoughts are with all friends in South Pas.

Doug

Mister Earl said...

It is now 8:10 pm, and I can see the eastern line of the fire from my front porch. There are places where the flames are getting huge.

I was at the Rose Bowl before and from certain places at the southwest end of the bowl, you get a clear view. I've never seen anything like this. There were planes dropping retardant while it was still light, but they are going to have to stop flying. There is nothing to stop this tonight. The only salvation is that there is no wind.

Double "D": It's funny how we Californians fear tornadoes, and you midwesterners fear fires and earthquakes. I guess it's just what you're used to.

altadenahiker said...

Thank you for this. Fingers crossed. (The animals are all placed.)

Mister Earl said...

10:00 PM Just got back from the Rose Bowl. Took a couple photos.

Posted them to: http://misterearlmusing.blogspot.com/

They didn't come out very well, but you can get the idea. The one with the glowing orb in the center is over La Canada, the necklace of flame is above Altadena.

Laurie said...

Thanks, everybody. Mister E, I was at the Rose Bowl tonight, too. I'm just sitting down to process today's photos.

I'm pretty freaked out. I can see flames up the ridge when I walk down the street and look at the mountains. Something has changed in wind direction because now it's too smoky to go outside.

Til tomorrow, people.

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