Tuesday, September 1, 2009


It's the first of the month, and that means Theme Day for participating City Daily Photo bloggers. I missed the last one, but when I checked yesterday found out this month's theme, I knew I had to participate. This month's theme is Big. Well, I certainly have a picture for that. (In fact, I have a whole slew of them...)

As of just past midnight, the Station Fire now exceeds 105,000 acres and may end up on the books as the biggest fire in LA County history.

From our South Pas perspective, it means worrying about friends and loved ones in Altadena, Sunland, Tujunga, Glendale, Acton, La Canada and La Cresenta who are at immediate risk from the unstable blaze. It means worrying about friends and loved ones in Santa Clarita, Palmdale, Newhall and any number of other communities who might end in the path of the seemingly unstoppable firestorm. It means marveling at the miracle work of firefighters who have tirelessly battled for five days and saved countless structures. It means grieving for the two firefighters who gave their lives in the process.

It means mourning the loss of so much forest -- of beloved hiking trails and nature walks, bike tracks and rock climbing spots. And it means mourning the loss of those secret spots off the trail -- the ones where special picnics happened. Where you might have fallen in love or figured out your life.

It means wondering if Mount Wilson is next -- home to the observatory that helped write the birth certificate of our universe, and to the telecommunications towers that hook up our cell phones. (The ones that we keep using every hour to check news updates and blog posts.) It means now knowing terms like pyrocumulus.

From a South Pas perspective, it means being nestled right up against catastrophe but still going about life's business, with smoke-filled days and uneasy nights that now have a fiery mountainside as a nightlight.

For the latest fire updates:

Altadena Hiker
LA Observed
Firefighter Blog
The Mount Wilson webcam
LA Times dynamic map of current fire zone

For other creative interpretations of today's City Daily Photo theme:
Click here to view thumbnails for all participants

UPDATE: 2:15PM Just reported by our friends at the informative Altadenablog:

The Battle for Mt. Wilson: it's on. Flames are in the complex, but there's a lot of "fog of war" as to what's really going on up there. Air support seems to be the only way to fight it now, altho' LA County Fire twittered around 1:45:

*Station IC* LACoFD is sending units to stage at Red Box Ranger Station for structure protection @ Mount Wilson.
Lots of aircraft flying over us in East Altadena, apparently headed for Mt. Wilson.

UPDATE: 5:00PM Lots of comments on blogs about aerial water drops over Mt. Wilson. Here's the latest from LA Times. It's eerie outside here in South Pas. Ash rains down on everything. Saw one woman wearing a respiratory mask as she walked down Fair Oaks. Sun blotted by smoke.

UPDATE: 8:30PM Mt. Wilson webcam is now out of commission. Click here for the last shot. This briefing about the fight to save Mt. Wilson (linked at the bottom of the webcam picture) offers encouraging news straight from the source.


USelaine said...

That's an amazing shot, Laurie. If that Pacific storm would just hurry along and bring some rain...

Don't worry too much about the secret places - they'll bounce back pretty quick.

Jilly said...

Your shots of this terrible fire (Fires) are incredible. Of course a perfect subject for the word 'big' but unfortunately perfect in California's case. I sure hope the weather changes soon. Take care.

Jim Klenke said...

I heard this morning that there is not much hope that it will be contained soon. Nice shot of a sad event.

Leif Hagen said...

I'm sorry about the BIG fires and the BIG losses of home and forests! What a BIG disaster! I hope BIG Gov. Schwarzenegger can get the BIG mess under control!

Judy Williams said...

Thank you so much for keeping us who are not directly affected, abreast of this fiery tragedy. Your images are breathtakingly beautiful and frightening. Your text is informative and thought provoking.

Sharon said...

Big and scary and very, very sad.

Mister Earl said...

Great photo and great words. Here's a collapsed version of what we've been seeing:


Jane Hards Photography said...

I am willing my rain over your way. Impressive photography but like all the others from this phenomena under such tragic circumstances. This is one thing we just don't have to deal with here, and for that I am so thankful.

Stay safe.

Petrea Burchard said...

A hell of a shot, Laurie. I mean that, good and bad. It's like you photographed Mordor. And you did it justice.

Keith said...

Well, it's easy to see what's dominating our thoughts locally. The fire is a common theme day choice around here.

Trish said...

Wonderfully sad shot---ditto what Petrea said. Great shot I wish you'd never had to get.

I was explaining to someone who visited LA years ago, about the fires. I explained in my best LA descriptors, only to fail. I finally said "you know coming over Via del Rey, that range you could see only on a clear day?" yup "that ENTIRE range is at risk". The response I got from my friend is not appropriate for print, but suffice it to say, she understood the gravity and grandiose nature of these fires finally.

It is so sad to see these images, but am glad everyone IS posting them. I hope that the "no burn" status that has been the norm in our forests for a good portion of my life will be re-evaluated after infernos like these.

Yakpate said...

Thank you for giving us "pyrocumulus," so I can stop saying, "that smoke looks like gigantic cumulus clouds."

The sense of loss you expressed is very moving.

Bellis said...

You've written about the sense of loss so much better than I could ever have expressed it, thank you. I hope some of my secret places, favorite trees and old wooden bridges have survived.

Ineke said...

great post. Great photo.
Take care!

Halcyon said...

I had nightmares about these fires last night. I dreamed the house behind mine was burning and we had to leave and I didn't even have time to grab my computer or anything. Luckily it was just a dream and there are no wildfires in Jackson, MS. But I feel for those people and the firefighters.

Virginia said...

To quote Alexander, " It's a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day" in Southern California. Every time I visit the blogs I pray that I will find better news. It's not happening yet. Your photos are just amazing.

slim said...

This more then fits the interpretation of theme day. I hope and pray for small loss in this very big fire. Your picture brings us closer to this tragic event.

pasadenapio said...

You, Petrea and Ben all posted photos from the fires today for the "Big" theme. Great minds think alike!

Laurie Allee said...

Hi everyone,

Thank you so much for all of the kind words and thoughtful comments.

The dramatic flames have moved on to other parts of the mountains, out of South Pasadena's view. But the smoke still pours. All I could see today was smoke, smoke and more smoke.

The good news is the fire is now 22% contained. We have heard 5% for days now, so this is definitely something to cheer about. Lets hope good weather conditions assist the firefighters. Altadenahiker mentioned on her blog that they are on a schedule of on 24 hours, off 15 hours, on 24 hours. How do we begin to say thanks for that kind of dedication?

We're only just barely into fire season. Plus, a hurricane is blasting into Baja. Hurricane? In the Pacific? I thought we made some kind of cosmic deal that we'd get the earthquakes, fires and mudslides if the Gulf got the hurricanes? Are all bets off?

I sure will be happy to see blue skies again. Soon, I hope.

Until tomorrow...

eda said...



Mister Earl said...

eda - That's easy for you to say!

Unknown said...

costa rica tours, shopping online, costa rica fishing, jaco fishing charters, costa rica whale watching, costa rica dolphin watching, costa rica party boat, panama fishing, fishing costa rica los suenos, los suenos fishing charters, costa rica fishing los suenos, los suenos costa rica fishing, costa rica los suenos fishing, fishing costa rica los suenos, los suenos fishing charters, costa rica fishing los suenos, los suenos costa rica fishing charters, costa rica los suenos fishing,