Tag Archives: News

Funny and Not So Funny Happenings in Big T

First, the funny stuff…

One of the things that my grandmother did here in the canyon, and that I have continued doing since she passed, is feeding the local hummingbirds. Years ago I got a little hummingbird feeder that had perches for the little tykes so they could rest while having a snack. And, while it’s arguably not good for them, I do use a drop of food coloring in their water so I can more easily keep track of when the feeder needs to be refilled.

About a week ago I noticed that I hadn’t seen any hummingbird air battles in a while. Also, the rate of consumption of their food had dropped dramatically. The amount of food in the feeder was still going down, but not as fast as is typical.

Orange OrioleToday I discovered what is causing these changes in activity at the hummingbird watering hole. Orange Orioles.

I am still trying to snag a picture of the orioles that have commandeered my hummingbird feeder, but this picture I found on the web is spot on. Who knew? I don’t recall seeing this particular variety of bird in Big T before, but they are definitely here now.

Guess I’m going to have to get another feeder for the hummers, and this time without a perch so the orioles won’t use that one.

Now for the not-so-funny stuff…

This afternoon I took a drive up the road to check out the dam. As you might expect, the canyon had lots of cyclists, motorized and not, plus other visitors pulled off the the side of the road, parking and picnicking as though they never saw the “Forest Closed” signs.

The dam, as it happens, is full, and not with water.

The Big Tujunga Dam

This picture shows pretty clearly that the dam is completely filled with sediment. I have no idea what plans exist for excavating all that sand, silt, rock and debris, but I find it almost impossible to believe that the job could be done before next winter’s storms. And until the dam is dug out, all the water coming down the canyon is going to flow right over the spillway.

If anyone has connections with the dam, I would love to hear what plans are in the works to address this minor little problem. Otherwise, does anyone have blueprints for an ark I can borrow?

What was even more disturbing was what I found on the side of the canyon just below the vista point for the dam.

Someone's trash dump in Big T

From the look of it, someone dumped 5 or more boxes of books down the side of the canyon. The boxes appear dry, so this was fairly recent. But the books are scattered over an area at least 50 feet long, and on a very steep rock face. In order to clean this up someone would have to rappel down from the vista point and bring everything up piecemeal.

Illegal dumping is nothing new to Big T, but this just made no sense. Books can be donated or recycled. And the placement of the dump is practically malicious given how difficult it will be to retrieve this debris so it can be disposed of properly.

If anyone has resources available to tackle this issue, please let me know. It’s just heartbreaking to see this kind of thing in the forest.


Busy Day for the News!

In addition to the news that the Station Fire Panel Discussion has been postponed, the LA Times has had two articles in the past two days discussing the Station Fire and further investigations into what really happened. Links are given below.


Forest Service investigates withholding of key Station fire information
August 3, 2010 |  4:32 pm

The U.S. Forest Service has launched an inspector general’s investigation and invited Congress to order a broad inquiry into last summer’s disastrous Station fire, after the recent discovery that dispatch recordings from the critical early hours of the blaze were withheld from The Times and a federal review team.


Federal inspector general launches probe of Station fire
By Paul Pringle, Los Angeles Times
August 4, 2010

A federal inspector general has launched an investigation and the Obama administration has invited Congress to order a broad inquiry into last summer’s disastrous Station fire after learning that dispatch recordings had been withheld from a U.S. Forest Service review team.

The telephone recordings, from the critical early hours of the blaze, also were withheld from The Times, which requested them under the Freedom of Information Act.

The inspector general’s probe will focus on why the several days of recordings were not provided to The Times or turned over to the Forest Service inquiry, which concluded that the agency’s initial attack on the fire was proper.


L.A. Times Money Makeover

The Los Angeles Times is looking for people who would be interested in being profiled in an upcoming Money Makeover column, a popular feature that appears in the Sunday Business Section once a month. The article would describe specific financial challenges you face as a result of the wildfires, along with analysis and recommendations provided by a prominent financial planner for successfully addressing the issues. If appropriate, input from legal and/or insurance specialists might also be included.

The benefit of participating as the subject of a Money Makeover article is that you receive detailed advice from a reputable financial consultant at no cost – and readers of the Times benefit from seeing how strategies for overcoming financial challenges may be applicable to their own situations. A few months ago the Times contacted people who have been profiled in Money Makeover articles during the past two years, and everyone said that it was a positive experience. Many reported that, as a result of the interview and analysis, they had achieved major financial goals and resolved past issues and concerns related to money.

Do Your Part is bound by privacy disclosures and will not share your personal information or contact details with the L.A. Times. If you are interested in being considered for a Money Makeover profile, please provide a release to me and I will have the Los Angeles Time writer contact you.


Leslie Teltoe
Do Your Part Disaster/Donations Coordinator

Feds’ firefighting tactics under fire

SOURCE: L.A. Times
Nov. 14, 2009 4:55 a.m.
By Brian Charles

Local county supervisor blasts U.S. Forest Service for Station Fire strategy

Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich on Friday scolded U.S. Forest Service officials for grounding aircraft during the early stages of the Station Fire, which scorched 1…60,000 acres, destroyed 100 homes and killed two Los Angeles County firefighters.

“The Forest Service conclusion that aircraft use in the Station Fire’s earliest stage would have been ineffective is a false assertion to justify their failure,” said Michael Antonovich, Los Angeles County Fifth District Supervisor. “Our Los Angeles County fire fighting aircraft sat on the tarmac waiting to be called into action, while the Angeles National Forest burned.”

Forest Service officials declined to comment.

The Fifth District encompasses the Santa Clarita Valley, as well as the Acton, Agua Dulce, La Canada-Flintridge and Altadena, which were hit hard by the Station Fire.

The Station Fire broke out on Aug. 26. The blaze raged for more than a month and led to the deaths of two Los Angeles County firefighters. Investigators have determined arson caused the fire.

Antonovich’s statement came after the Forest Service, which was in charge of firefighting operations, issued its Fire and Aviation Management Station Fire Initial Attack Review.

In the report, Forest Services officials said that aircraft were not deployed to attack the fire due to limited visibility. The Forest Service also said air attack alone would have been ineffective in fighting the fire.

Antonovich blasted the Forest Service for this claim and said if air attack had been used, the Station Fire would have wrought less havoc.

“Had the County’s Fire Air Support been fully activated by the Forest Service while the fire was still manageable, it would not have spread into a 160,000-plus acre disaster taking the lives of two firefighters and destroying over 100 homes and structures,” he said.

County Fire Department to release report Tuesday on Station Fire

SOURCE: Pasadena Star-News (Posted 11/16/09)

The Los Angeles County Fire Department will release its own executive report on Tuesday that will review the county’s response to the Station Fire, officials said.

The report comes on the heels of a report released by the U.S. Forest Service last Friday that blamed the escalation of the blaze on the dry brush and steep terrain where the fire spread — and not the actions of the agency — in its first days.

The county Fire Department will be coming out with its own report, because the Station Fire was such a high-profile wildfire and because there are some areas where the two departments approach firefighting differently, said John Tripp, chief deputy of the Los Angeles County Fire Department.

“The different agencies have different procedures and guidelines,” Tripp said.

The county Fire Department provided assistance to the U.S. Forest Service, which was the lead agency to respond to the Station Fire for the first three days of the fire.

The fire broke out in the Angeles National Forest in the afternoon on Aug. 26 and went on to scorch more than 160,000 acres.