Tag Archives: fire

Wildfires in Northern California

Just yesterday I posted an article talking about the difficulties in recovering from the Station Fire. A couple of hours later I learned via Facebook that a cousin of mine has lost her home and her animal rescue in the Boles Fire in Weed, CA. Talk about striking close to home…

Gabby and her family are among over 1500 people left homeless by the Boles Fire. As of this writing, news agencies are reporting over 100 structures lost in the wind-driven fire that started yesterday afternoon. Several family members, including me and my mom, have sent money so my cousin and her family can get what they need at the moment, but with so much destruction they are going to need help for weeks and months to come.


Five years and a lifetime ago…

Although five years isn’t really a long time, it seems as though the world is a very different place today compared to what it was on August 1, 2009. Objectively, I know that I have changed far more than the world around me, but subjectively there are times when I feel like a stranger in my own life. Things that I thought would never change have changed, and still other things I thought I could depend on have been lost forever.

For those of us who live (or lived) in the Angeles Forest, the Station Fire is more than a few lines in history. It was a cusp, a pivotal point beyond which nothing is the same. The fire itself was horrific, raging through the chaparral-covered hillsides with a vengeance like something out of the Old Testament. It destroyed old forest growth, wildlife, homes and lives. And I’m not just speaking of the two firefighters who died in the fire. In the five years since the Station Fire at least three Angelenos have died, one by suicide.

And I am not the only who feels altered, different from who we were before. Over and over again, as survivors have met and shared and bonded around this shared disaster experience, I have heard the same sentiments expressed, the same sense of otherness described. It is part of our bond, and something that we can accept in each other without question or judgement.

Rebuilding, where it has happened at all, has been slow and spotty. None of the homes lost on National Forest lands can be rebuilt, and few residents on privately owned lands have been able to return and rebuild. Red tape and inter-agency turf wars have made a daunting task nearly impossible for more than a few, and the process has been wearing for everyone who has made the effort.

Five years after the Station Fire I am still wrestling with the reality that the forest I knew is never going to be the same. The trees are different, the wildlife is different, the riverbed is very different, even the quality of the light and air is different. Sometimes different is not a bad thing, but in this case the differences are constant reminders of what was lost. Those differences are sometimes so great that it seems as though the forest I knew was a place where I lived in another life.


LA Times investigation contradicts key assertions by the Forest Service about its response to the fire

Hot off the presses, here is another investigative article by Paul Pringle. Thanks Debra!

Aerial expert’s report on L.A. County’s biggest wildfire flies in the face of official review

As Capt. Perri Hall watched helplessly, a blaze that had appeared containable erupted into the devastating Station fire. A report by Hall, obtained by The Times, contradicts key assertions by the U.S. Forest Service about its response to last summer’s disaster.

For the full story, go to:

L.A. Times: U.S. failed to fill order for aircraft in Station fire

Paul Pringle has done it again, bringing to light the cover-up in the USFS “investigation” of the Station Fire.

For full details, go to the L.A. Times article:

U.S. failed to fill order for aircraft in Station fire
The agency didn’t press to get tankers in the air quickly, despite its own commanders’ urgent request, records and interviews show.

(Thanks, Bert.)


Angeles Requiem

Updated June 12, 2010

In the fall of 2009, a remote wildlife camera captured the Station Fire moving through a canyon in the San Gabriel Mountains. The camera was one of two placed in the Arroyo Seco between JPL and Switzer Falls, about a mile from where the fire originated. One camera was destroyed by the fire. This footage is from the one that survived.

For those of us who lived through the fire, this brings home the fury of the Inferno once again. For those who have asked us what is was like, here you go.

Thanks to Adi for sharing this. ~B~

Note: The video was offline for a time while edits were being made. As of June 12, 2010, the video is back online and contains several corrections.

For those of us who survived the fire as it roared through Big Tujunga Canyon, please bear in mind that this footage records the fire as it moved East of the Angeles Crest Highway. It does not record the fire as it moved through Big Tujunga. The events recorded here took place the day before the destruction of Big T.

From the author of the video:

This was recorded by a motion sensing camera, in a canyon on the front range of the San Gabriels. There were two cameras in this area. One burned completely, but this one was in a rocky stream bed away from anything flammable, and insulated by being anchored under a boulder.

About the Camera: Added 8 June 2010

The end of the video states that the camera used was an HCO ScoutGuard SG550. According to the manufacturer’s website, the camera features the following:

  • 5/3 Mega Pixels CMOS sensor, high quality picture
  • Auto LED IR-Cut-Remove
  • Compact size, well designed digital scouting camera (5-1/2X3-1/4X2 inches)
  • Ultra low stand-by power consumption (<0.2Ah/month), extreme durable and convenient with AA batteries (>80days)
  • Quick trigger time (<1.3s)
  • Lockable with mounting strap, nail/screw and cable lock
  • Innovative remote control, easy to operate

Although the manufacturer’s page doesn’t say so, I have been able to confirm that the camera casing is made of metal. Beyond that, all we can do is speculate that the camera’s placement was such that it was close to the water and away from vegetation that might have damaged it by burning.

For more information, please visit the link below.