Category Archives: Fires

#FishFire in my ‘hood…news and information for those affected

Fish Fire from my front porch this morning at dawn. Click to embiggen
Fish Fire from my front porch this morning at dawn. Click to embiggen

It started late morning yesterday in Duarte and worked its way up towards Fish Canyon.  Know as the “Fish Fire”, it and the nearby “Morris Dam Fire” have consumed some 5400 acres of brush at this writing and growning. As of the 9AM press conference there was zero containment.  L.A County fire spokesman said that within 24 hours there will be enough progress that the fire will no longer be a threat to homes.

Duarte has had mandatory evacuations in place for homes north of Royal Oaks Drive between Olive and Encanto since yesterday afternoon.

L.A County Fire has put the city of Bradbury and the portion of Monrovia East of Myrtle and North of Foothill Blvd as potential evacuation zones in the event the wind shifts and blows the fires towards those cities.  Right now I sit in that expanded zone of potential evacuations…not a comfortable space to be.

Its been an interesting experience watching the communities bind and help each other.  Duarte quickly reached capacity at their Community Center and Monrovia stepped up and opened theirs for evacuees.

Its not limited to just community governments helping.  Businesses such as Wonderdog Ranch opened up for evacuated small pets.

Ho-leeee crap. Hello, Los Angeles, my love.

Who’s got two thumbs (and her index fingers, with which she primarily types, like a spazzy T-Rex on a typewriter) and is back in LA?!

This girl.

Along these rhapsodic, elegiac and thrilled welcome-home lines I’m walking, here’s some songs to make you love your city again. Fall outta love? Don’t do what I do and leave.  Or do…it might be what you need to appreciate it.
Rilo Kiley, Let Me Back In: link:

“From the Eastern seaboard, the landlocked Midwest
The Keys, the Alps, the Black Hills and Budapest
With my heart in a sling, tail between my legs a-swinging
I’m sorry for leaving

But when the palm trees bow their heads
No matter how wrong I’ve been
L.A., you always let me back in

And you can bury me when my body breaks
In the earth that created me, in the Golden State
By my mama and her brother and their mama too…”

And then there’s this one, by the Delta Spirit, for the folks I left behind in the South.     ;)

I mean, this sorta already happened, and that fellow is now happily married, so….everybody come on out! Apparently I’m a great vector for changing your life.    :P

(Yes, this post is enormously personal. Kevin Roderick may have a field day with this one. Or he may not, which will make me feel like a loser. Whateves.)

“I want you to move to California for yourself,
I want you to find whatever your heart needs,
I want you to move to California for yourself, but not for me.

I want you to go out there and find somebody else,
I want him to treat you like I know he should,
I want you to find somebody new for yourself, if not for me.

all of the feelings that I know you never felt,
and all of the simple words you never said,
I want you to keep them like a secret to yourself, they’re not for me.

I want you to wander silent past my outstretched arms,
I want you to hide yourself from all I see,
and though my heart will fight until its dying breath, you’re not for me.”


Also…I love the video for this one.

So, yeah. I’m back. We did hot dogs, we did donuts. What do you think should be next?

Red Flag through at least Thursday 8PM evening of 5/1/2014

Red Flag through Thursday

With this drought we did it, skipped the winter rains and last years “fire season” ran right into this one. Things aren’t pretty in the IE and at least we in the rest of the foothills have been spared so far this heat wave. As has Griffith Park and the Santa Monica Mountains so far. If you know something to the contrary post it in the comments.

Here are a few nixle alerts I’ve received during the course of the day.  First up from L.A. Sheriff:

  MOUNTAIN AREAS CLOSED: Due to the high winds and high fire danger, Chantry Flats, Bailey Canyon Park, and Mt. Wilson Trail will be closed until tomorrow morning when the areas will be re-evaluated.

Sergeant S. Morsi

Temple Sheriff’s Station

And from my local Fire Department regarding those areas closest to me geographically and to my heart:

  The National Weather Service has issued a Red Flag Warning which will remain in effect until 8 p.m. PDT, Thursday, May 1 for strong Santa Ana winds and widespread singe digit relative humidity for much of Los Angeles and Ventura Counties.

Strengthening upper level winds and increasing offshore flow is bringing a burst of strong Santa Ana winds to the region today.

Currently there is a 200+ acre brush fire north of Rancho Cucamonga with mandatory evacuations.  The Monrovia Fire Department is monitoring the situation and will be conducting fire patrols in the Monrovia foothills over the course of the day.  Updates will be provided if necessary.

Canyon Park and the Hillside Wilderness Preserve will be close thru Thursday, May 1.

Damaging winds will be likely across the mountains and portions of the valleys in Los Angeles and Ventura counties with peak gusts in th 60 to 80 mph. Offshore winds are expected to diminish some late this afternoon and tonight, then reintensify on Thursday morning when gusts will generally range between 45 and 65 mph across wind-prone locations in Los Angeles and Ventura counties.

Northeast winds 30 to 45 mph with gusts up to 70 mph will continue today, with isolated gusts up to 80 mph in the San Gabriel Mountains and western peaks of the Santa Monica Mountains.  Winds will diminish some late this afternoon and tonight, then reintensify on Thursday morning when gusts up to 65 mph will be likely.

If fire ignition occurs, there could be a rapid spread of wildfire that would lead to a threat of life and property.  A Red Flag Warning means that critical fire weather conditions are occurring with strong winds, very low relative humidity, and warm temperatures that create extreme fire behavior.

Residents living in high fire areas should log on to to learn more about how to prepare and take steps in the event of a fire.

This is insane Colby Fire in Glendora moving quickly westward

As I write this the Colby Fire has grown to well over 125 acres.  Friends in Azusa are under mandatory evacuation orders.  A friend just tweeted that 2 folks were in custody for this ARSON  fire.  ABC7 Tweeted just now its 3.

Tweet that 3 have been arrested if we don’t have enough to worry about these assholians are out there starting fires putting so many at risk. Continue reading This is insane Colby Fire in Glendora moving quickly westward

Madre Fire in Azusa out of control still

It started around 6PM yesterday evening. CA highway 39 is closed at Madre to traffic.  I have friends that live in the canyon in the area where some homes were evacuated.  Where I sit right now its smokey and ashy.

Do stay away from the area close to the fire and keep it free or firefighters and police to move people in and out as needed unimpeded.  If you really want a good view of the ‘copters and superscoopers going in and out of Azusa Canyon the Lario Bike trail off of Foothill Blvd in Irwindale/Azusa is the best spot.  Good clear view of the fire zone as well as the airborne fire fighting equipment.   The Lario Bike trail is between Mt Olive Drive in Duarte and Irwindale Ave in Azusa.  The parking lot entrance is just east of the San Gabriel River Bridge.  MAP HERE.\

Pics by me with my phone from my front porch yesterday evening and again at dawn.  Click to embiggen


I’m not sure how this will affect the Lario Trail Parking area but this just in from LA County Sheriff via Nixle.

Temple City Sheriff’s Station reports street closures in the Duarte area due the fire burning north of Fish Canyon. Huntington Drive is closed at Encanto Parkway. All residential streets that intersect with Encanto Parkway north of Huntington Drive into Fish Canyon have also been closed. Encanto Park has been closed and is being used as a staging area for water dropping helicopters. At this time there is no threat to the cities of Duarte or Bradbury. Approximately 50 acres have been burned in the mountain area. There are no evacuations anticipated at this time. There has been no information regarding any structures being threatened. The percentage of the fire containment is unknown at this time

UPDATE 5:30pm

Via Monrovia PD-Fire Nixle alert:

The Madre Fire in Azusa is 250 acres and 30% contained with 450 personnel assigned, including 6 aircraft.  There is no threat to Monrovia.

For full details, view this message on the web.

Angeles Crest Highway Reopens

Mountain View
View from Mt. Wilson just off Angeles Crest Highway

Last Friday, Caltrans announced that the portion of California State Route 2 known as the Angeles Crest Highway is now open over its full 66-mile length from La Canada Flintridge to Wrightwood (see June 3 press release on this page). This has been a long time coming for Los Angeles area sports car and sport bike enthusiasts, as well as hikers and others who have discovered this nearby escape route over the years. Unfortunately, the Highway has had more destructive disasters than the castle in “Monty Python and the Holy Grail”.
Continue reading Angeles Crest Highway Reopens

CERT getting into gear

CERT I recently posted about CERT training in LA and here’s a gentle reminder that now’s the time to get started. There are a ton of classes starting up this week. Actually for some places Monday was the first class but my Google Alert got piled in a bunch of emails so hey, better late than never eh? If you missed the first class you can make it up later so no reason to not jump in. I’m going to be going to the Woodland Hills training so if anyone reading this can make it, say hello! The online calendar is a little out of date so I contacted them this morning and they sent me the up to date full class schedule.

Arsonist at large in Los Feliz

Corner of Franklin and Vermont about 12:15AM, 4/29/11

Someone was Lighting a String of Trashcan Fires late Thursday Night / Early Friday Morning

I took the picture to the right myself. Firetrucks were already on the way, and in fact, already in the area, as this was at least the third trashcan fire lit.

I felt slightly guilty snapping the pic, like I should have done something more, but my Android doesn’t have a “Fire Extinguisher” App, and I really didn’t have that much water on me at the time.

“I.C.M.E.” indeed. Eyewitness account after the jump.

Continue reading Arsonist at large in Los Feliz

It’s time to get CERT-ified

With all the brouhaha going on across the world it’s time to remind all of us Angelino’s that we’re living on top of a ticking time bomb and we all should do our parts to be prepared. A few years ago a bunch of the crew went out and got CERT training. For the un-initiated, CERT stands for Community Emergency Response Team and the training is provided free of charge to everyone 18 and older living in the city of Los Angeles.

Local government prepares for everyday emergencies. However, during a disaster, the number and scope of incidents can overwhelm conventional emergency services. The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program is an all-risk, all-hazard training. This valuable course is designed to help you protect yourself, your family, your neighbors and your neighborhood in an emergency situation.

CERT is a positive and realistic approach to emergency and disaster situations where citizens may initially be on their own and their actions can make a difference. While people will respond to others in need without the training, one goal of the CERT program is to help them do so effectively and efficiently without placing themselves in unnecessary danger.

The course is one day a week for seven weeks with a total of 17.5 hours training time. In the classes you’ll learn to:

  • Manage utilities and put out small fires,
  • Treat the three medical killers by opening airways, controlling
  • Bleeding, and treating for shock,
  • Provide basic medical aid,
  • Search for and rescue victims safely,
  • Organize themselves and spontaneous volunteers to be effective,
    and collect disaster intelligence to support first responder efforts.

I missed the initial classes but now that I’m back in LA I’m getting my training at the first available class. If this sounds like something you’re into (and it should be dammit) check their calendar for a class near you! You can also peruse the class manual online.

Brush fire breaks out in Monrovia Canyon area

From the official city web the first information on the fire I spotted as I was exiting the 210 FWY about 1:15.

A small brush fire is burning in Monrovia Canyon Park. No structures are threatened and no evacuations have been ordered. The fire was apparently set off by a downed power line. A major Fire Department response has put dozens of firefighters and equipment on the scene. Watch this notice and the City of Monrovia page on Facebook for further updates.

From the old timers in the neighborhood they advise that that area has not burned since the mid-1960’s and is a concern to them.

According to my daughter the best place to view the ‘copter activity is from the Pavillions Shopping Center at Myrtle and Foothill.  For gawds sake…don’t attempt to drive up the hill for a better view of the activity, stay out of harms way and don’ t do anything to impede the fire fighters.  As for me, I have my suitcase still packed from the weekend so all I’m tossing in is the trusty insurance policies in the car and will be set to boogie if the fire gets bigger and they order evacuations.  (Good excuse as any not to unload the car and do nothing for a bit).

UPDATE 2:48PM from the city facebook page:  Firefighters have contained a small brush fire burning in Monrovia Canyon Park. Full encirclement is expected later this afternoon. No structures are threatened and no evacuations have been ordered. A major Fire Department response put dozens of firefighters and 40 pieces of equipment on the scene. Keep checking with us and our website for more details. Thank you.

Luckily, The Fire is Just a “Refinery Burn Off”

IMG_1755I spotted the same fire spotted by Will (see post directly below) on the East side of the Palos Verdes peninsula, in El Segundo, as seen from a different angle in Marina del Rey, less than 10 miles to the North.  My little Canon Elph can’t quite capture the flames moving and reaching 30 feet or more in height.  My first thought was that, at minimum, this is a large house fire, and maybe something bigger.

Fortunately, KCBS TV just reported that it’s a deliberate “refinery burn off.”  I sure hope that word spreads, otherwise there could be plenty of alarmed folks out there.

It Caught My Eye: A Big-Ass & Growing Plume Of Smoke Along The Coast

I just double-taked like a pro looking out my 10th-floor Westchester office window and seeing this towering smoke monster growing out in the direction of LAX (click to biggify):


I’m going to assume it’s some sort of enviornmentally toxic discharge (isn’t THAT a relief!?) from one of the oil refineries out there nearer the coastline. Or the marketing people for the final season of “Lost” have outdone themselves.

After the jump is the plume a half-hour-later

Continue reading It Caught My Eye: A Big-Ass & Growing Plume Of Smoke Along The Coast

Griffith Park Fire

monica sent me a pic of the griffith park fire from the 5/134... on TwitpicA fire that broke out in Griffith Park that the LAFD first reported an hour ago as 0.5-1 acre in size acres has grown to five acres according to the the most recent Twitter update 45 minutes ago from @LAFD on Twitter.

The picture of the fire as seen from the 134 overpass above the 5 Freeway comes from my friend Patricia (taken by her friend Monica) who posted it on Twitter around the same time as the LAFD’s last update.

UPDATE (10.01): LAist is reporting that it took firefighters 59 minutes to contain the blaze. There were no reported injuries or structural damage, and the cause is under investigation.

Dressing for the H-Bomb

Nuclear_fireballAs the Station Fire still lingers over these last weeks, only now finally almost fully contained, I’ve pointed many folks to the dramatic images of the pyrocumulus clouds that have come out of it, especially the time-lapse images of these clouds developing.  Like many folks new to having such large fires quite so close, I only learned about the pyrocumulus mechanism with this fire.  One thing that is dramatic in this phenomenon (apart from the sufficiently dramatic itching eyes, headaches, and sore throats that all my friends seem to share) is its striking resemblance to an H-Bomb blast.

I am not the first to note this resemblance, of course.  Not even the first Metblogs author to do so.  Nor the first to think and write about the identity of the thermodynamic mechanism of the formation of an H-Bomb’s mushroom cloud over the course of seconds, and the fire’s formation of one over the course of days or weeks.

Continue reading Dressing for the H-Bomb

Didion on LA

The largest fire in LA history is expected to keep burning through the weekend. It has burned more than 160,000 acres (250 square miles). Here’s Joan Didion on living in fire country:

Station Fire photo by Brittany Bagheri and American Red Cross
Station Fire photo by Brittany Bagheri and American Red Cross

People who live with fires think a great deal about what will happen “when,” as the phrase goes in the instruction leaflets, “the fire comes.” These leaflets, which are stuck up on refrigerator doors all over Los Angeles County, never say “if.” When the fire comes there will be no water pressure. The roof one watered all the night before will go dry in seconds. Plastic trash cans must be filled with water and wet gunny-sacks kept at hand, for smothering the sparks that blow ahead of the fire. The garden hoses must be connected and left where they can be seen. The cars must be placed in the driveway headed out. Whatever one wants most to save must be placed in the cars. The lights must be left on, so that the house can be seen in the smoke.

That’s from Didion’s essay “Fire Season.” You can get it here