Last week, much of LA County was looking at the fire east of the city, above Azusa. On Thursday, a small fire was reported over La Cañada Flintridge, which started near a ranger station (hence the moniker, Station Fire). It didn't seem like much at first, although it produced enough smoke to make a pillar behind the skyscrapers.
This weekend, the Station Fire exploded in all directions. 10,000 homes are threatened, from the San Gabriel Valley to the Newhall pass. Our own friend Susan Russell is nearby and has been following events at her blog. As I write this, firefighters say that the flames will reach historic Mount Wilson Observatory within 2-4 hours. As reported by the LA TImes,
The top of the 5,712-foot mountain, which sits above Altadena, is home to multimillion-dollar astronomy projects for UCLA, USC and UC Berkeley. Georgia State University also operates a $20-million facility and a powerful telescope array at the Mt. Wilson Solar Observatory. As well as the observatory, this peak is topped by transmitters for every TV station in LA.There's a webcam at the top. The LA Times has an excellent, updated interactive map. Firefighters hope to keep the flames East of Interstate 5 and highway 14, and north of Interstate 210.
This fire is not being driven by the Santa Ana winds--thankfully, they have yet to put in their annual appearance. The hot, dry weather and the tinder-box fuel have been enough. Temperatures have been at record highs in Southern California this weekend from the coast to the interior.
Those of you who pray, please keep brave, exhausted firefighters, fearful residents, and choking locals in mind. The fire is less than 5% contained.
Update: two firefighters were killed today. Please keep their families in your thoughts.
Update 2: Yes, that's a DC10 flying low over the mountains to drop retardant.
Update 3: Look, if the firemen and police tell you to evacuate, LEAVE. The first people injured stayed in a house up a canyon and thought jumping into a hot tub would save them (How stereotypically Californian). Last night, there were 5 people up another canyon who refused to evacuate and are now trapped, and are begging the firemen to bring in a helicopter to rescue them. DUMB. There is no house worth a life, but people who won't leave end up putting firefighters and other people in danger, hampering the firefighting effort, and costing more money. JUST GO when they tell you to! (I think people who refuse to evacuate and then have to be rescued should have to pay back the cost!)
Pics from the LA Times and the BBC