Looking grimmer here. The Station Fire in La Canada Flintridge, the town where I grew up and the town next door to us in La Crescenta, is out of control, 5% contained at most. The winds are blowing towards us today, the heat is scorching, and the dry brush of Angeles Crest is strong fuel. The day started in a dim haze of smoke and ash, and throughout the day the great malevolent plume, looking like a mushroom cloud, has roiled and turned shades of coffee and chocolate as it has found rich veins of fuel. Huge swaths of the mountains, typically covered in tans and army greens, are denuded.
There are now evacuation areas west, east, and north of us. The nearest mandatory evac area is about 8 blocks north, the nearest voluntary area about four blocks north. Could the fire get to us? Possibly. If it did, it would be catastrophic in loss of homes — on the order of the Oakland fire some years ago.
Some of the flareups have come alarmingly close. Here are a couple of shots I took from my driveway:
The heat and smoke are making me nauseous and making my head pound, but I loaded up my wife's minivan with art and photo albums and irreplacables, and drove them up to the other side of La Canada to my dad's house. He's high up in the hills, with unearthly views. Here you can see another perspective on the fires.
This is the Western area of the fire, burning into La Crescenta and westward, from my dad's house:
Here you have the part of the fire north of La Canada, over the country club:
It remains to be seen where it will burn from here. We've got a very good chance of coming through without damage, but I think they may lose some houses in La Canada and La Crescenta. Moreover, they are worried about Mount Wilson and some of the other nearby peaks, where a vast array of broadcasting and communication antennas are placed.
We may or may not sleep elsewhere tonight — depending in part on whether the evac area gets extended to this street.
Meanwhile, the nearby streets swarm with lookie-loos driving in in groups to find vistas and take snaps of the fire. They are starting to get on my nerves.
More tonight, possibly.
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