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Saturday, September 26, 2009

2nd Alarm Vegetation Fire, Los Angeles County





A fast moving vegetation fire brought a second alarm assignment from Los Angeles County Fire Department and a first alarm vegetation response from the United states Forest Service near the California Aqueduct at the intersection of K and 110 Street west near Fairmont, west of Quartz Hill. About 75 acres were charred as firefighters worked the flanks in triple digit temperatures. One firefighter was injured when he was stung by an insect and had to be air lifted to a local hospital do to a serous reaction to the sting.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Ventrua County Wildfire 16,000 Acres




There are 214 engine crews, 21 helicopters, and 23 hand crews working a 16,000 wildfire in Ventura County near Filmore. The fire made several large runs today and was spreading to the east pushed by evening onshore winds. The fire is burning in light grass and medium brush and continues to threaten homes. A red flag warning is still in effect for the fire area until Thursday evening. Hot and dry weather will persist even though red flag warning thresholds may not be met.

Photos Jeff Zimmerman

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Hundreds Flee Homes: Guiberson Wildfire Burns Out Of Control



8,500 acres Charred between Moorpark, Fillmore, Zimmerman Media is at the scene!

As the weather forecasters predicted the Santa Ana's surfaced today with sweltering heat and strong north easterly winds. Numerous wildfires were reported today in Ventura and Riverside County. The largest wildfire is the Guiberson Incident in Ventura County, Which is still burning out of control. Over 8,000 acres have been burned so far. Sheriff’s officials said the fire started from manure that combusted spontaneously. More than 600 firefighters were battling the blaze. The fire is 10 percent contained.

The fire started about 10:30 a.m. just outside Fillmore, near East Guiberson and Calumet Canyon roads, and moved quickly south toward Moorpark. The fire later moved west and jumped Highway 23 toward Balcom Canyon Road about 3:30 p.m. But by late Tuesday evening, the fire was headed east toward Somis and west toward Simi Valley, authorities said, while Moorpark appeared to be safe.

Temperatures topped 100, and humidity fell to single digits while winds gusted to 30 mph. The winds had calmed somewhat by 6:30 p.m., but officials feared they would pick up as daylight approached on Wednesday.

“It’s quiet right now,” Ron Oatman, a captain and spokesman for the Fire Department said Tuesday night. “We want to get in there and take advantage of the good weather.”

Two firefighters suffered minor smoke-inhalation injuries, Fire Department Battalion Chief John Moland said. They were treated at a local hospital and released. A third firefighter injured his ankle Tuesday night.

Voluntary evacuation notices were issued to residents in the unincorporated area of Moorpark just north of Broadway, west of Walnut Canyon, east of Grimes Canyon Road and south of Guiberson.

Residents in the Happy Camp and Championship Drive neighborhoods of Moorpark were also told to evacuate. The notice for Championship Drive was lifted late Tuesday. Some properties in the Fillmore, Bardsdale and Sespe areas also were under a voluntary evacuation order, as was the Solano Verde Drive area north of Bradley Road. Officials used an automated phone system to call residents.

At least eight fixed-wing firefighting airplanes and four heli-tankers were called to the blaze, Nash said. A DC-10 water tanker also was used. The aircraft were grounded as nightfall approached on Tuesday because of the dangers of flying after dark. The Ventura County Fire Department set up a command post at Arroyo Vista Park in Moorpark.

Oatman said the fire burned through the same area consumed by the Shekell fire in 2006.

“That was a big one, and, fortunately, it burned a lot of the fuel that could feed this one,” said Moorpark city spokesman Hugh Riley. He said water officials authorized avocado growers in the area to turn on irrigation sprinklers in their orchards.

Authorities said Tuesday’s fire started near to where a very similar fire ignited Monday evening. As with the fire on Tuesday, Monday’s blaze also was caused by spontaneous combustion from manure. However, fire fighters managed to quickly extinguish Monday’s fire.

Reports of heavy smoke and ash were wide- spread throughout Ventura County.

Shannon Conley, 44, said her home in the 1100 block of Guiberson Road was spared thanks to the quick action of firefighters.

“There was smoke everywhere,” Conley said. “It’s crazy how (the fire) moved like that.”

Donna Voelker, 66, said she took her laptop, photo albums and a family quilt and drove out of the area while her husband and children stayed to hose down their home on Guiberson.

“These firefighters were there just in time,” she said.

Dorann LaPerch, owner of Bonn-Fyre Farms, said watching the fire approach her hilltop property on Walnut Canyon Road was all too familiar. Her home was destroyed in 2003 and again in 2006 in the Shekell fire.

LaPerch has a horse-boarding business with about 50 animals. She hoped the brush clearance she did this year would be enough to protect her home.

“I’m freaking out,” LaPerch said, her hands shaking. “This brings back a lot of bad memories.”

Smoke was heavy at Moorpark College, but spokeswoman Jeanne Brown said the campus was not in any danger Tuesday. The campus planned to be open today, Brown said.

Officials of the Fillmore and Moorpark unified school districts said Tuesday that they planned to keep schools open today.

The Ventura County Air Pollution Control District reported winds were gusting up to 50 mph in some areas and issued a smoke advisory for all parts of the county.

Ventura County public health officials said residents should limit their outdoor activities for the next few days because of the bad air quality.

Adults and children with asthma, emphysema, chronic bronchitis or other respiratory and heart diseases are at greatest risk, said Dr. Robert Levin, the county’s chief public health officer.

“This even applies to those with no health problems,” Levin said. “If you or anyone you are with develops a cough, shortness of breath, wheezing, exhaustion, light-headedness or chest pain with increased activity, stop that activity immediately. The affected person should seek medical attention.”

We are following this breaking news story closely.

Monday, September 21, 2009

RED FLAG WARNING:

...RED FLAG WARNING IN EFFECT FROM 4 AM TUESDAY TO 6 PM PDT
WEDNESDAY FOR THE VALLEYS OF VENTURA AND LOS ANGELES COUNTIES AS
WELL AS THE MOUNTAINS OF SANTA BARBARA AND SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTIES
DUE TO GUSTY NORTHEAST WINDS AND LOW RELATIVE HUMIDITY...

...RED FLAG WARNING IN EFFECT FROM MIDNIGHT MONDAY NIGHT TO 9 PM PDT
WEDNESDAY FOR THE MOUNTAINS OF VENTURA AND LOS ANGELES COUNTIES
DUE TO GUSTY NORTHEAST WINDS AND LOW RELATIVE HUMIDITY...

.DISCUSSION...A STRONG UPPER LEVEL HIGH PRESSURE SYSTEM WILL BUILD
INTO NORTHERN CALIFORNIA ON MONDAY...AND REMAIN ANCHORED ACROSS THE
WESTERN STATES THROUGH AT LEAST THURSDAY. NEAR THE SURFACE...THE
FLOW IS EXPECTED TO TURN WEAKLY OFFSHORE BY MONDAY...THEN BECOME
MODERATELY OFFSHORE MONDAY NIGHT AND TUESDAY. DURING THE MONDAY
NIGHT AND TUESDAY TIME PERIOD...NORTHEASTERLY WIND GUSTS AS HIGH AS
45 MPH CAN BE EXPECTED IN FAVORED MOUNTAIN PASSES AND CANYONS...WHILE
VALLEY AREAS EXPERIENCE GUSTS TO AROUND 35 MPH. THE OFFSHORE WINDS
ARE EXPECTED TO CONTINUE INTO WEDNESDAY...BUT ARE EXPECTED TO WEAKEN.

THE OFFSHORE INFLUENCE IS EXPECTED TO BRING AN EXTENDED PERIOD OF
HOT AND DRY WEATHER FOR THE SOUTHLAND. THE WARMING TREND IS EXPECTED
TO BEGIN ON MONDAY...WHEN ISOLATED TRIPLE DIGIT READINGS CAN BE
EXPECTED ACROSS INLAND LOCATIONS...ALONG WITH 3 TO 6 HOURS OF SINGLE
DIGIT HUMIDITY READINGS ACROSS THE MOUNTAINS...DESERTS...AND SANTA
CLARITA VALLEY. TRIPLE DIGIT HEAT IS EXPECTED TO BE MORE COMMON
TUESDAY INTO WEDNESDAY ACROSS THE VALLEYS...LOWER MOUNTAIN
ELEVATIONS...AND POSSIBLY INLAND PORTIONS OF THE COASTAL PLAIN. AS
THE OFFSHORE FLOW INCREASES LATE MONDAY NIGHT INTO TUESDAY...THERE
IS EXPECTED TO BE A RAPID DROP OF HUMIDITIES INTO SINGLE DIGITS
ACROSS MUCH OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA. LONGER PERIODS OF SINGLE DIGIT
HUMIDITIES ARE LIKELY ACROSS THE VALLEYS AND MOUNTAINS LATE MONDAY
NIGHT INTO AT LEAST WEDNESDAY. THE COMBINATION OF VERY LOW
HUMIDITIES...WEAK TO MODERATE OFFSHORE WINDS...HOT TEMPERATURES...
AND CRITICALLY DRY FUELS WILL PRODUCE CRITICAL FIRE WEATHER CONDITIONS
TO PORTIONS OF THE SOUTHLAND MONDAY NIGHT THROUGH WEDNESDAY...
PROMPTING THE ISSUANCE OF A RED FLAG WARNING. OFFSHORE FLOW MAY
WEAKEN ON THURSDAY AND FRIDAY...BUT LONG RANGE COMPUTER MODELS
CONTINUE TO SHOW CONSIDERABLE UNCERTAINTY DURING THIS TIME FRAME.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Wildfire Burns Structures Near Temecula

About a dozen structures and several vehicles burned Saturday in a wildfire that broke out near Vail Lake Resort southeast of Temecula.

Law enforcement officials evacuated residents who live near the lake as 250 firefighters descended upon the area to fight the blaze reported around 3:50 p.m.

Riverside County Fire Capt. Fernando Herrera said Saturday night that the fire, which grew from a 10-acre blaze, had burned more than 215 acres.

Hemet firefighters Skip Irland, left, and Capt. Art Deyo battle a fire around a structure that was destroyed along Highway 79. The fire burned a number of structures but officials are still trying to determine how many of those were homes.

It appeared to have slowed and was 15 percent contained by about 7:30 p.m.

"Things are looking very favorable at this point," he said. "It's not burning anywhere near as rapidly as it had been."

An unidentified person, who is not a firefighter, was treated for smoke inhalation, Herrera said. The fire burned structures but he couldn't confirm whether any of them were houses.

Winds between 15 and 20 mph drove the blaze, Herrera said.

Winds of similar strength are expected today in the Temecula area, with temperatures forecast to reach the low 90s, according to the National Weather Service.

Soon after the fire started it jumped from north side of Highway 79 to the south side. Firefighters battled flames 10-feet high near U.S. 79 and Sage Road. They set up around homes to protect them.

Hand crews and bulldozers worked to contain the fire while helicopters and air tankers dropped water and retardant from the air before sunset.

Herrera said it was too soon to know where and how the fire started.

He didn't immediately know how many people had been evacuated.

The California Highway Patrol closed Highway 79 between Anza and Sage roads shortly after the fire was reported.

Pamela Anderson, CEO of the Riverside County chapter of the American Red Cross, said Saturday night that the Temecula Community Recreation Center on Rancho Vista Road had been opened for people who had been evacuated.

Other centers would be opened if needed, she said.

Two families had evacuated to the center and were expected to spend the night there.

They did not want to be interviewed, Red Cross officials said.

Resident Ashley Bundrock on Saturday night anxiously waited on Highway 79 to get to her home inside the fire area.

The 22-year-old woman was working at a Temecula motorcycle dealership when her stepmother called around 3:30 p.m. and told her that a fire was burning near her home.

"My house is over there and I'm trying to figure out if it is still there," she said, adding that she feared that she had lost her dog.

Highway 79 road closures prevented Bundrock from getting home, she said. She tried using back roads without success.

John Welsh, spokesman for the Riverside County Department of Animal Control, said Saturday night that four dogs had been rescued from two homes inside the fire area.

The dogs were being taken to the Ramona Humane Society in San Jacinto, he said.

He said two of the dogs were plucked from a burning home by Riverside County Sheriff's deputies.

The residents were not at home.

Animal control employees rescued two of the dogs from another residence, Welsh said. Other animals that may be found also will be taken to Ramona Humane Society, he said.

Herrera said the area is filled with livestock and he expected firefighters to find dead animals as a result of the fire.

However, Welsh said that department volunteers who rescue large animals, such as horses and livestock, headed toward the area shortly after the fire was reported.

They did not find any animals to save, he said.

"If there were animals that perished, it's because we just could not get there in time," Welsh said.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Fire Weather Concerns for Los Angeles County

2009: A STRONG UPPER LEVEL HIGH PRESSURE SYSTEM IS EXPECTED TO BUILD
INTO NORTHERN CALIFORNIA BY MONDAY...SHIFTING EASTWARD BY THE MIDDLE
OF NEXT WEEK. IN ADDITION...LONG RANGE COMPUTER MODELS ARE SHOWING
WEAK TO MODERATE OFFSHORE FLOW NEAR THE SURFACE FOR MUCH OF NEXT WEEK
DURING THE LATE NIGHT AND MORNING HOURS. WHILE THERE IS STILL CONSIDERABLE
UNCERTAINTY IN THE STRENGTH OF OFFSHORE WINDS ACROSS SOUTHERN
CALIFORNIA...THERE IS GOOD CONFIDENCE THAT HOT AND DRY CONDITIONS
WILL PREVAIL ACROSS INLAND AREAS MUCH OF NEXT WEEK...WITH TRIPLE DIGIT
HEAT BECOMING MORE COMMON AND HUMIDITIES LIKELY FALLING INTO SINGLE DIGITS
AT TIMES. WITH THE POTENTIAL FOR OFFSHORE FLOW...THE HOT AND DRY
CONDITIONS MAY SPREAD TO COASTAL AREAS AT SOME POINT NEXT WEEK.

1984: A tropical air mass lasting two weeks and high sea surface temperatures led to record.

1929: A tropical air mass enveloped Southern California.
The Meteorologist in Charge at San Diego reported temperatures of 111° in the coastal valleys on 9.16.
A reading of 94° was at San Diego at 4 am on this day.

1913: Santa Ana conditions produced a high of 110° at San Diego, which was the all time record high temperature until 9.26.1963 (when it hit 111°).
An unofficial report of 127° came from San Bernardino.
One died, a carpenter working outside. A few small fires occurred, including one downtown that destroyed one house.

History can be used as a prediction method of things to come, everything is lining up for very serious fire conditions, please use caution while working in the field.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Wildfire Video

New video of the blowup on the Station wildfire. 409 available for emergency response.


http://www.brandonriza.com/Video/HTML/ZeroPercentContained.html

Monday, September 14, 2009

Fallen Firefighters Killed in Station Fire Remembered as Heroes









First In, Last to Go! A tattoo depicts a firefighters pride as he was memorialized Saturday.

As the County's largest wildfire continued to burn Saturday, two firefighters who died while battling the blaze were lauded during a memorial service at Dodger Stadium that included firefighters from as far as New York and distinguished guests as Vice President Joe Biden.

Captain Tedmund Hall - a graduate of Workman High School in Industry - and Firefighter Specialist Arnaldo Quinones died Aug. 30 when their truck plummeted 800 feet into a canyon near Mount Gleason.

The men were trying to find an escape route for dozens of inmate-firefighters at Camp 16, which had become overrun by thick smoke and advancing flames from the Station Fire. The inmate-firefighters eventually made it out safely.

Hall, 47, and Quinones, 34, were remembered for their heroic efforts.

"There's a saying that all men are created equal," Biden said, "but then a few become firefighters. Well, Ted and Arnie had few equals."

In addition to Biden, a host of other local and state officials attended the memorial, including Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Senator Barbara Boxer, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Los Angeles County Supervisor Gloria Molina and about 5,000 uniformed firefighters from across the country.

All characterized Hall and Quinones as veteran firefighters who were dedicated to their jobs.

"Every instinct tells us to run from fire and smoke," Schwarzenegger said. "These men have a sense of duty that is greater than the pull of primal instinct." The Governor stated that he likes action and these were men of action.

These men were great men "not because of their desire to surpass others at any cost," Los Angeles County Supervisor Don Knabe said. "But because of their desire to serve others at whatever the cost."

Hall is survived by his wife Katherine and two sons, Randall, 21, and Steven, 20. Quinones is survived by his wife Loressa, who is about eight months pregnant with the couple's first child.

Schwarzenegger thanked both families for their sacrifices.

"You knew, as you said goodbye to Ted and Arnie each day that they might not come home," he said. "And still you supported them." While the two men can never be replaced, Biden assured the relatives of Quinones and Hall that they would one day draw strength and solace from Saturday's service.

"There is very little we can do today that is going to bring genuine solace to the empty void the families are feeling as I speak. ... but I also know the fire service," Biden said. "I know it well. It is not an exaggeration to say for the rest of your lives you will have them at your back."

Two memorials for the fallen firefighters were set up at the Elysian Park entrance to Dodger Stadium, featuring personal items from Quinones and Hall. Adorning Quinones' memorial was a pair of boots and a helmet with the words "wheelman" inscribed on it. Both belonged to Quinones.

Fire Fighter Specialist Rob Morales recalled the last time he saw Quinones alive.

"I watched as Arnie jumped in that truck and they drove down that road," Morales said. "I watched my friend deliver every promise he ever made: brave, strong and noble."

Quinones had a tattoo that said "First in, last out" said Biden.

He was also charismatic and playful, said Morales.

"It wasn't uncommon for him to come up, give you a great big hug and hold it way past the point where it was comfortable," Morales said.

When you asked him to let go, Quinones would just say, "I'm Puerto Rican, that's what we do."

On Hall's memorial, a lunch box from his childhood depicted a burning building and firefighters performing first aid on an injured man.

He had always wanted to be a fireman, according to Workman High School teacher Mike Kedulich. the last actions of Hall and Quinones were to tell the others to hunker down as they charged into harm's way, Biden said.

"Thank God we have people like that for the rest of us," he said.
Thousands f firefighters, many who sleep in the dirt on brush fires know the dangers that the Station Wildfire presented. Phenomenal rates of spread, super heated air, fire whirls and blinding smoke made this wildfire not only dangerous, but Los Angeles County's largest wildfire. All firefighters should take pride in their efforts to protect lives and property in the great State of California.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Greater Alarm Structure Fire, El Monte CA



A large commercial structure fire in South El Monte yesterday in Los Angeles County Fire Departments jurisdiction at 9928 Haywood St. A 100' X 300' furniture store was completely destroyed by fire. Master streams were employed to halt the advance of the flames.

Photos Courtesy Tod Sudmeier, EPN

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Traffic Collision, 7 Injured, 2 Critically, LAFD 66




A serious traffic collision occurred in the 2100 Block of Florence Ave in South Central Los Angeles. LAFD Task Force 66 extricated several patients from the wreckage, 2 were critical. Several children were assessed by paramedics at the scene.

Photos Jeff Zimmerman, EPN

Air Tankers and Suppression of Wildfires


One of the most dramatic sights on a wildfire is the vision of an air tanker releasing its red payload of retardant near the fire. Behind this picturesque vision is a long history of science in the development of a valuable tool for firefighters - the use of fire retardant. Today retardant is used when appropriate to help suppress wildland fires.

Aerial drops of retardant have come a long way since the first recorded water drop in 1930, when a Ford Tri-Motor airplane used a wooden beer keg filled with water. Now air tankers can drop 500 to 2000 gallons of retardant at a time to help suppress fires. Helitankers, which are helicopters with built-in tanks, can drop up to 2000 gallons; retrofitted DC-10s have an 11,000 gallon capacity, and Boeing 747s 20,000 gallons.

Fire retardant is just one of many tools in the arsenal of firefighters. Like any other tool, it must be used under the right conditions and for the right job in order to be effective. Firefighters consider many factors in deciding which tools to use at a particular location and time to suppress a fire. Characteristics of the terrain, weather variables such as temperature, humidity, wind direction and force; the types of vegetation in the fire area; proximity to homes and other buildings; and the first priority of safety of the public and firefighters are all factors in choosing the right tools for the particular circumstances.

Retardant drops are most often used in extreme fire conditions. The retardant is usually dropped just ahead of the advancing edge of the fire and the flanks of the fire. This cools and so slows the fire, helping firefighters on the ground. It reduces the rate of spread and the intensity of fires, and slows larger, more damaging, and therefore can reduce the cost of fires. Often, using retardant to fight fires is the most effective and efficient method of assisting firefighters in protecting people, resources, private property and facilities. The remoteness of many wildland fires can delay the arrival of firefighting ground forces. Retardant drops can rapidly reduce the intensity and spread of the fire until firefighters can safely take action. Topography in the fire area and windy conditions are some of the factors limiting the effectiveness, and therefore the use, of retardant.

Although fire retardant is most often colored red or orange, sometimes a colorless retardant is used. The colored variety allows both the pilot and the firefighters on the ground to see where retardant has been applied. This helps the pilots in aiming their next drop and firefighters to know where to position themselves. The colorless variety is often used on roadside locations where color is not needed or desired or in the wilderness.

In 1956, water drop tests showed that conditions had to be near perfect for water to reach the ground and be effective. So specialists began to mix in chemicals to make the drops have the desired effect. Over 50 years of retardant use, research and development have evolved into the current products and practices. Today long term retardant is most commonly used in heavy vegetation and in some critical fire situations needing immediate response. This type of retardant consists of 85 percent water, 10 percent fertilizer salts ammonium phosphate or ammonium sulfate (not sodium chloride), and 5 percent minor ingredients such as colorant or fugitives (iron oxide -rust-, or a color that fades with exposure to sunlight), thickener (natural gum and clay), corrosion inhibitors, and dispersants. Foams and gels are also used, often in areas of lighter vegetation, on buildings and other structures such as fences or other resources. Foam is 99 percent water with 1 percent wetting agents, foaming agents, corrosion inhibitors and dispersants. Water enhancers absorb large amounts of water and dry slowly. They are good for protecting structures and for mop-up operations. Water enhancers consist of 95 to 98 percent water, and the balance a mixture of thickeners, stabilizers and other minor ingredients.

The fertilizer in the long term retardant may help in re-sprouting of vegetation if other conditions are favorable. Conversely, excessive fertilizer may cause a temporary "burn" on exposed vegetation. Retardant use can be a more cost-effective and readily available tool than some other methods in remote locations, and lighter on the land than a dozer line.

Retardant products that are used must meet strict specifications and are tested against a prescribed set of health and safety protocols. Those who apply fire retardant undergo extensive training in its safe and proper use. The USDA Forest Service has guidelines for the use of fire retardant near aquatic areas and habitat of Threatened and Endangered species to avoid or minimize any negative effects. Aerial application of retardant is avoided within 300 feet of waterways visible to the pilot. The effects of the aerial application fire retardant on human health and safety have been analyzed and evaluated and it has been determined that it does not pose a risk to the health and safety of the public or firefighters.

The use of fire retardant is a valuable tool in the firefighting arsenal. Fire managers evaluate the many variables of a particular fire and the resources and values that are threatened. Training, experience, and pre-planning allow them to choose the best response to the fire and the appropriate tools to use.

Station Fire Update




The Station Fire ,named for its initial proximity to a USFS Ranger Station. The Station Fire has burned over 250 square miles of land within the Angeles National Forest and near surrounding foothill communities including La Canada Flintridge, La Crescenta, Acton, Soledad Canyon, Pasadena, Glendale and Sierra Madre. The goal of the Incident Management Team is to keep the fire west of Highway 39 and Angeles Crest Highway, east of Interstate 5, south of Highway 14, Pearblossom Highway, and Highway 138, and north of the foothill communities and the Angeles National Forest Boundary. The fire is moving into areas of the forest with no recorded fire history. The Station Fire is now the 10th largest fire in California since 1933. For a current fire perimeter map, on Google Earth, Station Fire Perimeter And a progression map is available at progression map.

The Angeles National Forest call center is being staffed 24 hrs a day. For additional information, please call 626-821-6700.

The originally planned firing operation below the Mt. Wilson area and from Cogswell Dam north to the Angeles Crest Highway were suspended for another day due to weather and burning conditions. The general route of this planned burn goes northerly from Cogswell Dam, parallel to Chileno Canyon toward Twin Peaks and Mt. Waterman. Some additional improvement of pre-treatment control lines is required to be fully anchored to other fire lines and appropriate natural barriers.

If the burnout operation is a "Go" today, the entire operation will executed under the direction of very experienced Operations Chiefs and operations supervisors up and down the line. Aerial ignition systems, if employed, will be supervised and coordinated by Air Operations, Safety and Operations Chiefs.

Air tankers and helicopters are committed in support of Wednesday's operation. Aggressive patrol and mop-up will continue along Angeles Forest Highway 2, westerly around to Mendenhall Peak, southerly to the Tujunga Canyons following along the fire perimeter easterly to Inspiration Point.

Suppression repair needs are being inventoried in all of the active patrol area. Mop-up continues for 300-feet in from the control fire lines. Smoke may continue to be seen these areas for a few days, and while the fire line is secure, continual mop-up and patrol will be needed for quite a few days ahead.

The Station Fire Incident Command Post completed it's move yesterday from Hansen Dam Recreation Area to the Santa Fe Dam Recreation Area at 15501 E. Arrow Hwy. Irwindale, CA 91706.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Sink Hole Swallows LAFD Engine 60


Crews work to free firetruck from Valley Village sinkhole
September 8, 2009 | 7:52 am

Sinkhole Officials were trying to figure out this morning how to shut off water that was continuing to flow from a sinkhole in the San Fernando Valley that swallowed a fire engine.

This water main break occurred this morning on Bellingham Avenue at Hartsook Street near Laurel Canyon Boulevard in Valley Village. The truck – with one captain and three firefighters on board – was responding to a call about flooding in the 1200 block of West Hartsook when it ended up in the sinkhole, said department spokesman Devin Gales.

All four of the truck's crew safely escaped from the firetruck. The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power says a broken water main underneath the asphalt caused the sinkhole.

The street is closed and about 40 DWP customers in the area are without water. DWP crews were on scene and in the process of shutting off the water main. Meanwhile, a heavy rescue unit from the Fire Department arrived to pull the firetruck out of the sinkhole, Gales said.

A previous sinkhole developed Saturday night a few miles away on Coldwater Canyon Avenue, which is closed from Ventura Boulevard north to Moorpark Street. Commuters to the Westside are advised to avoid the area and, if forced to detour, stick to Beverly Glen Boulevard to the west and Laurel Canyon Boulevard to the east rather than wind their way through unfamiliar mountain streets.

DWP crews welded the 62-inch water main that flooded residences in Studio City and washed away cars in a powerful torrent that lasted hours. Water as deep as 3 feet pooled in some places and ripped a huge gash in the roadway. Road repair crews were expected to begin rebuilding the most severely damaged portion of Coldwater Canyon, just south of Ventura Boulevard, late Monday or today.

It was not clear how long it would take to fix the roadway, which collapsed in large chunks in places.

Traffic officers will be stationed today at four intersections to guide motorists around the closures from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. and from 4 to 7 p.m., officials said.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Vehicle Fire, San Bernardino County


San Bernardino County Fire Department responded to a vehicle fire on Hwy 247 near Reche Rd in the community of Landers. The vehicle was fully involved upon arrival. Fire was quickly knocked down by the E19 crew. Pictured are FF Samantha Harper (nozzle) and FF Mark Aid. There were three occupants in the vehicle at the time of the fire. After being in the hot sun one of the occupants complained of feeling ill. She was 8 weeks pregnant. MBA ambulance was requested and transported 2 to Hi Desert Hospital. Photos by Tod Sudmeier

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Station Wildfire Explodes on Eastern Boundry



The fire was active again today in the Bare Mountain area. Firefighters were supplemented with plenty of air support. The two largest air tankers in the world, the DC-10 and the 747 made drops today in addition additional air tankers and helicopters. Dozer lines have been completed from Chilao north to Bare Mountain and crews are trying to take advantage of every opportunity to thin vegetation around Newcombes Ranch and Chilao.

The fire gained ground in the San Gabriel Wilderness and made a run up Chileno Canyon above Cogswell Reservoir. Large plumes were visible around 3PM. Fire behavior analyst expect that there will likely be more of the same in that area and cautioned crews to be vigilant. Crews will continue line construction, holding fire spread, and conducting burn operations if possible and as needed. The public may continue to observe smoke and occasional flame pockets during operation.

In the Mt Wilson area conditions allowed crews to go directly on the fire. Hand crews hiked in and were supported with water drops from helicopters. Progress was made in building fire line along the Rincon trail system to help prevent the fire from turning south into more populated areas.

It has been determined that the cause of the Station Fire is arson and is now a homicide investigation If you have any information or questions please contact the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department at 323-573-2387.

The Station Fire, named because of its proximity to a nearby USFS Ranger Station has burned over 230 square miles of land within the Angeles National Forest and near surrounding foothill communities of La Canada Flintridge, La Crescenta, Acton, Soledad Canyon, Pasadena, Glendale and Sierra Madre. The goal of the Incident Management Team is to keep the fire west of Highway 39 and Angeles Crest Highway, east of Interstate 5, south of Highway 14, Pearblossom Highway, and Highway 138, and north of the foothill communities and the Angeles National Forest Boundary. The fire is moving into areas of the forest with no recorded fire history. If you have Google Maps, you can access the fire perimeter at CA-ANF-E5VL Station 9-3-2009 0327.kml

Tonight weather will be mostly clear with temperature between 64 - 74 degrees. Tomorrow will be in the low to mid nineties and 80 to 88 degrees in the upper elevations. The weekend should bring an increasing onshore flow and a cooling trend.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Fire Conditions Across California



The August 2009 California wildfires have burned more than 322,000 acres (130,300 hectares) of land since the beginning of the month, destroying 64 houses, hundreds of structures and killing two people. Many of these wildfires continue to burn into the month of September. Although fires burned many different regions of California in August, the month was especially notable for several very large fires which burned in Southern California, despite being outside of the normal fire season for that region.

The still-burning Station Fire, north of Los Angeles, is the largest and deadliest of these wildfires, having burned more than 148,000 acres (58,300 ha) and killed two firefighters since it began in late August. Another large fire was the La Brea Fire, which burned nearly 90,000 acres (36,400 ha) in Santa Barbara County earlier in the month. A state of emergency was also declared for the 7,800 acre (3,150 ha) Lockheed Fire in Santa Cruz County to the north.

Sporadic fires are normal throughout California in the summer and fall as temperatures rise and rainfall drops, causing vegetation to die off and provide fuel for combustion. Three years of drought amplified these effects, making already fire-prone California ripe for wildfires. These fires may be ignited by natural sources like lightning, or through human activity.

In Southern California, the normal wildfire season begins in October with the arrival of the infamous Santa Ana winds, and it is unusual to see fires spread so rapidly at other times of year. However, temperatures throughout the southern part of the state exceeded 100°F (38°C) for much of late August. The combination of high temperatures, low humidity and a large quantity of tinder-dry fuel, some of which had not burnt for decades, allowed some of the normal fires to quickly explode out of control despite the lack of winds to spread the flames. These conditions, along with extreme terrain in many undeveloped areas that impeded access to burn areas, made firefighting difficult.

Notable fires

Dozens of fires burned throughout California in August 2009. Some of the most notable are listed here.

* The Corral Fire began on 13 August along Corral Hollow Road, outside the Carnegie State Vehicular Recreation Area, near Tracy in Alameda County. It burned 12,500 acres (5,060 ha) of dry grass before being fully contained on 16 August.[2][3]

Mariposa County

* The Big Meadow Fire began on 26 August in Big Meadow, two miles east of El Portal, just inside Yosemite National Park. This fire has burned 6,283 acres (2,542 ha) in the Mariposa County section of Yosemite, resulting in the closure of several trails, campgrounds and the portion of State Highway 120 known as Tioga Road. The community of Foresta has also been evacuated. The Big Meadow Fire is 60% contained as of 2 September, with full containment expected by 10 September.[4] This blaze was the result of a prescribed burn gone out of control, leading some to question the judgment of Park authorities.

Placer County

* The 49 Fire was a small but very destructive fire that began on 30 August and was fully contained by CalFire on 1 September. Although it burned only 343 acres (139 ha), it destroyed 63 homes and 3 commercial structures in the town of Auburn in Placer County. The cause of this fire, which began alongside State Highway 49 in Auburn, is still under investigation.

Santa Cruz/Monterey/San Benito Counties

* The Lockheed Fire began on 12 August near the Lockheed Martin Space Systems campus in Santa Cruz County.[8][9] A total of 7,817 acres (3,163 ha) burned and thirteen structures were destroyed, including four seasonal cabins but no primary residences. No cause has been identified.[10] The communities of Swanton and Bonny Doon were evacuated and a state of emergency was declared by Lieutenant Governor John Garamendi on 14 August.[11] State fire crews achieved 100% containment on 23 August, at a cost of $26.6 million (USD).[10] Many hillsides burned by the Lockheed Fire had not burned since 1948 due to active fire suppression in the area. Some plant species endemic to the area, including the endangered Santa Cruz manzanita, propagate only after fire, potentially allowing these rare species to proliferate for the first time in decades.
* The Bryson Fire started from a mobile home fire on Bryson-Hesperia Road in the Monterey County town of Lockwood. It burned 3,383 acres (1,369 ha) and five structures, including three homes, between 26 August and 28 August.[13][14]
* The Gloria Fire began on 27 August along Camphora Gloria Road near the town of Soledad. It burned 6,437 acres (2,605 ha) in Monterey and San Benito Counties, destroying a house and another structure before CalFire contained it on 31 August at a cost of $4 million (USD).[15] The fire was set off by fireworks used to scare away birds outside of a winery and a criminal investigation is underway to determine who is responsible.

Yuba County

* The Yuba Fire was started after a Red-Tailed Hawk flew into a power line on 14 August, and burned 3,891 acres (1,611 ha) before being contained on 21 August at a cost of $12.1 million (USD). Two residences in Yuba County burned and power lines transporting electricity from a hydroelectric facility were threatened.[17][18]

Other counties

Other areas of Colusa, Lassen, Plumas, Santa Clara, Shasta, and Siskiyou counties also burned in August.

Southern California

* The Morris Fire began on 25 August near Morris Dam in the Angeles National Forest. It has burned 2,168 acres (877 ha) and is 95% contained as of 2 September, with full containment expected on 3 September.[19] This fire is thought to have been caused by arson.[20]

* The Station Fire started on 26 August near the U.S. Forest Service ranger station on the Angeles Crest Highway (State Highway 2).[21][22] As of 3 September, it has burned 144,743 acres (58,575 ha) in the Angeles National Forest, destroying nearly 100 structures, including 64 homes.[23] Two firefighters were killed on 30 August when their fire truck plunged off a cliff while attempting to escape the flames.[24] The blaze threatens 12,000 structures in the National Forest and nearby communities like La CaƱada Flintridge, Glendale, Acton, La Crescenta, Pasadena, Littlerock and Altadena, as well as the Sunland and Tujunga neighborhoods of the City of Los Angeles.[25] Many of these areas faced mandatory evacuations as the flames drew near, but as of 2 September, most evacuation orders have been lifted.[23] The Station Fire has been burning on the slopes of Mount Wilson, threatening numerous television, radio and cellular telephone antennas on the summit, as well as the Mount Wilson Observatory, which includes several historically significant telescopes and multimillion-dollar astronomical facilities operated by UCLA, USC, UC Berkeley and Georgia State University.[26] The cause of the fire was arson.[27] As of 2 September, improving weather conditions have helped firefighters contain 28% of the fire at a cost of $21 million (USD), although the fire remains active, especially on the eastern front.[28] U.S. Forest Service firefighters expect the fire to be fully contained by 15 September.

Santa Barbara County

* The La Brea Fire began near La Brea Creek in Santa Barbara County, inside of Los Padres National Forest.[29] A propane stove at an illegal marijuana plantation inside the National Forest is believed to have ignited the fire on 8 August. The fire burned 89,489 acres (36,215 ha) of chaparral but only destroyed two structures -- a cabin and an unused ranger station -- before being contained on 22 August.[30] The huge Zaca Fire burned in the same region in 2007, and some of the same fire lines were used to contain the La Brea Fire.[31] The plantation held approximately 30,000 marijuana plants, worth an estimated $90 million (USD). Earlier in the year, seventeen other plantations hidden in the forest had been discovered by authorities, who destroyed more than 225,000 plants worth over $675 million (USD). No suspects were captured at the site, but investigators did find an AK-47, leading them to warn the public that the suspects could be armed and dangerous.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Firefighter Memorial, LACOFD, September 12, 2009 Dodger Stadium



LODD: Two LA County Firefighters Fall in Massive Station Fire
LA Co. Fire Capt. Tedmond "Ted" Hall

Los Angeles County Firefighters and the California fire service are united in sorrow at the loss of two brother firefighters in the line of duty.

Captain Tedmund "Ted" Hall, 47, and Specialist Arnaldo "Arnie" Quinones, 35, died when their vehicle fell off an embankment during a furious backfiring effort to save dozens of others. Brother Hall was a 26-year veteran of the LA Co. Fire Department, and was the Superintendent for Fire Camp 16, which was overrun in the deadly blaze yesterday. Brother Quinones was the camp foreman, and had eight years in the fire service.

LODD: Fallen FFs Remembered For Commitment And Caring

Firefighters Fall in 'Selfless' Effort to Save Others -- Los Angeles Times

California Professional Firefighters is in contact with our brothers and sisters in LA County Firefighters Local 1014.

The thoughts and prayers of the California fire family are with the families of brothers Hall and Quinones and with all of our Los Angeles County brothers and sisters.

Memorial Services

Los Angeles County Firefighters Local 1014 and LA County Fire have announced plans to honor their fallen colleagues with a full fire service memorial.

DATE: Saturday, September 12, 2009

TIME: 10:00am

LOCATION: Dodger Stadium, 1000 Elysian Park Way, Los Angeles

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Station Wildfire tops 140,000 Acres




ANGELES NATIONAL FOREST - The Station Fire grew to 140,150 acres last night and is 22-percent contained, officials said Wednesday morning. The eight-day-old fire has burned 62 residences, caused 6 injuries and killed two Los Angeles County firefighters.

The wildfire continued to spread in several directions yesterday. On the northern border, it spread toward Acton. On the east, it spread toward Devils Canyon, according to Rachel Mailo of the U.S. Forest Service.

The wildfire has completely destroyed the ranger station at Mill Creek, a portion of the Monte Cristo ranger station and has threatened the Angeles Crest,Clear Creek, Red Box and Chilao ranger stations.

The fire is now threatening to destroy the San Gabriel Wilderness east of Devils Canyon and has moved just below the television towers atop Mount Wilson.

Hundreds of hillside residents are still evacuated as the fire threatens homes in the urban interface.

Temperatures are expected to be lower and the relative humidity was 33 percent today.
Humidity was only about 10 percent the first six days of the fire and rose slightly Tuesday.

Air Quality Extremely Unhealthful in LA Basin


SOUTH COAST AIR QUALITY MANAGEMENT DISTRICT

SMOKE ADVISORY
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 02, 2009

Smoke from the Station Fire in the Angeles National Forest continues to cause poor air quality in portions of the San Gabriel Mountains (Area 15) and the West San Gabriel Valley (Area 8). High concentrations of fine particulates are occurring in areas of direct smoke impacts near the fire, especially the foothill communities of Tujunga, La Canada,Flintridge, La Crescenta, Sunland, Montrose, Altadena and Acton. The Oak Glen and Pendleton Fires near Yucaipa have also caused areas of poor air quality. Everyone should avoid physical activity in any area heavily impacted by smoke.

While conditions have improved, smoke has settled into the valleys of Los Angeles County overnight near the fires, as well as in the eastern San Bernardino Valley. Onshore ocean breezes by the afternoon are expected to move smoke into the mountains and inland valleys. Prior to the onshore flow clearing the western Basin, smoke will linger in areas of Los Angeles County and in the eastern San Bernardino Valley near the fires.

Air quality will reach Unhealthy levels, or higher, in smoke impacted areas,especially near the fires.These areas will likely include:

• the San Gabriel Mountains (Area 15);
• the West San Gabriel Valley (Area 8);
• the West San Bernardino Mountains (Area 36);
• the Santa Clarita Valley (Area 13);
• the East San Fernando Valley (Area 7);
• the East San Gabriel Valley (Area 9);
• East San Bernardino Valley (Area 35);
• East San Bernardino Mountains (Area 38);
• Banning/San Gorgonio Pass (Area 29).

In any area impacted by smoke: Everyone should avoid any vigorous outdoor or indoor exertion; people with respiratory or heart disease, the elderly, and children
should remain indoors. Keep windows and doors closed or seek alternate shelter. Run your air conditioner if you have one. Keep the fresh air intake closed and the filter clean
to prevent bringing additional smoke inside.

To view current air quality conditions by region in an interactive map, see http://www2.aqmd.gov/webappl/gisaqi2/VEMap3D.aspx .

For more tips on avoiding health impacts from smoke, see http://www.aqmd.gov/ej/CAC/wildfire_safety_tips.htm on AQMD’s website.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009



I was battling heat and smoke today on the Station Wildfire, Angeles National Forest while covering the story for www.socalfirejournal.com. The wildfire entered the City limits of Glendale and Los Angeles today as crews tried to backfire portions of the line in the urban interface. Cooler temperatures and increased relative humidity slowed the rate of spread on the 130,000 acre wildfire. Still a large flame front could be seen from miles away.

Photos Jeff Zimmerman, Zimmerman Media LLC


Critical Information Pertaining to the Station Wildfire: Extreme rates of spread including crowning and torching were documented today at Chilao. Old growth timber was destroyed like match sticks burning in the wind today in and around the Chilao fire station and campground. Long range spotting was observed with a rotating vertical fire plume captured in hi definition video by Jeff Zimmerman of Zimmerman Media LLC. Extreme fire conditions persist in the Angeles National Forest, there has been structural and loss of human life.

A Red Flag Warning will remain in effect due to high temperatures and low humidity until 9:00 p.m. this evening. Fire behavior will be much the same as last night with active fire behavior spreading North/Northeast towards Pear Blossom and Little Rock and towards the subdivisions along I-215. The greatest fire activity is expected in the Big and Little Tujunga areas. Fire is expected to spread towards Mt. Wilson and the San Gabriel Wilderness.

The Station Fire is now estimated to be 105,296 acres. The fire is spreading east and north with some northwest spread. Firefighters are making some progression on the NW edge of the fire. Small scale firing operations to help in suppression efforts are taking place north of La Canada Flintridge and Glendale. A hotshot crew and engines from Glendale Fire Department and LA County are reporting that they are experiencing success with the mission. 65 personnel have been pulled back from Chilao Flats for safety reasons. Crews, engines, water tenders are working in the Mt. Wilson area.

The Station Fire continues to burn within the Angeles National Forest and near surrounding foothill communities of La Canada-Flintridge, La Crescenta, Acton, Soledad Canyon, Pasadena and Glendale. The goals of the firefighters are to keep the fire west of Highway 39 and Angeles Crest Highway, east of Interstate 5, south of Highway 14, Pearblossom Highway, and Highway 138, and north of the foothill communities and the Angeles National Forest Boundary. Steep terrain, decadent old growth brush and hot dry weather are factors that drive fire activity. Firefighters are working to build fireline and protect structures within areas affected by the fire.

Evacuations:

Juniper Hills Area: LA County Sheriff Department is issuing evacuation warnings for All homes in the Juniper Hills area north of Juniper Hills Rd between Emma Rd, Fort Tejon Rd and Longview Rd.

Tujunga: Northwest of Day at Blue Gum Canyon Rd, to Glory Ave to westbound Apperson St to northbound Fairgrove Ave to westbound Summitrose St to northbound Pinyon Ave to westbound Hillrose St to northbound Seven Hills Dr to Lonzo St.

La Crescenta: All previous evacuations remain in effect. NEW MANDATORY EVACUATION ORDERS HAVE BEEN ISSUED for all residences south of Markridge Rd to Orange Ave between Pennsylvania Ave and Ocean View Blvd INCLUDING Orange Cove Ave.

MANDATORY EVACUATION ORDERS for all residences north of Rockdell St and Faircrest Dr between Rosemont Ave and the foothills.

Altadena: Evacuation orders have been lifted for the areas north of W. Loma Alta Dr between Aralia Rd and Fair Oaks Ave WITH THE EXCEPTION of Prieto Fire Rd and Millard Canyon north of Risinghill Rd which remain under mandatory evacuation orders. Chaney Trail and Alzada Dr north of Jaxine Dr also remain under mandatory evacuation orders.

Evacuations centers operated by the Red Cross:

La Canada High School, 4463 Oak Grove Ave. La Canada, CA

Crescenta Valley High School, 2900 Community Ave. La Cresenta, CA

Verdugo High School, 10625 Plain View Ave. Tujunga, CA

Marie Kerr Park Recreation Center, 39700 30th St. West, Palmdale, CA

Golden Valley High School, 27051 Robert C. Lee Pkwy, Santa Clarita, CA

Please call 310-943-5220 for additional information on evacuation centers.

4,300 structures have been evacuated as of 4:35 p.m. this afternoon.

Road Closures:

Red Rover Mine Rd. @ SR-14

Soledad Canyon Rd. @ Crown Valley Rd.

Escondido Rd.@ SR-14

Soledad Canyon Rd. @ SR-14 (exit only)

Agual Dulce Canyon Rd. @ SR-14

Placerita @ Sand Canyon Rd.

Big Pines @ SR-2

Aliso Canyon @ Soledad Canyon Rd.

Angeles Forest Highway @ Mt. Emma Rd.

Red Rover Mine Rd.@ Escondido Rd.

Aliso Canyon @ Ave Y-8

Little Tujunga @ Ranger Station

Open to Residents Only:

Lake Blvd. to JPL and south of Cheyney Tr.

Evacuation shelters are located at La Canada High School; La Crescenta Valley High School and Golden Valley High School, Marie Kerr Park, Verdugo High School.

Animal shelters are located at Antelope Valley Fairgrounds, as well as the following special needs shelter. Pierce College (horses, donkeys and mules ONLY), Lancaster Animal Shelter and Agoura Animal Shelter are both accepting small animals.

As a result of extreme fire activity, and to protect public health and safety, Angeles National Forest officials are expanding the Station Fire area closure. The expanded perimeter of the closure includes the entire western portion of the main portion of the Forest south of Highway 14. (See attached map) This closure is effective 6:00 p.m. today and will last until the Station Fire has been fully contained.

Approximate Personnel Assigned:3,655

Helicopters 13

Air Tanker 8 (3 additional aircraft available as needed)

Engines 399

Hand Crews 44

Dozers 48

Water Tenders 43

The Forest Service (Lead Agency) with support of Los Angeles County Fire Department, Los Angeles County Sherriffs Department, California State Highway Patrol, Cal Trans, Los Angeles City Fire Department and other agencies is working to contain the Station Fire

Basic Information
Incident Type Wildfire
Cause Under Investigation
Date of Origin Wednesday August 26th, 2009 approx 03:30 PM
Location Los Angeles River Ranger District / Angeles National Forest
Incident Commander Michael Dietrich
Current Situation
Total Personnel 3,655
Size 105,296 acres
Percent Contained 5%
Estimated Containment Date Tuesday September 08th, 2009 approx 06:00 PM
Fuels Involved

Very heavy fuels of ceanothus, chamise, scrub oak and manzanita across the entire fire area, 15 to 20 feet in height with Big Cone Douglas Fir in the drainage bottoms. Fuels have not experienced any significant large fire activity in the past 40 years.
Fire Behavior

Fire behavior was extremewith long range spottin and plume dominated fire behavior on two fronts, North and West.
Significant Events

Mandatory Evacuations are in effect for the Verdugo Crestline North area in the City of Los Angeles and Glendale.
Outlook
Planned Actions

Crews will prepare and protect structures when and where necessary including critical communication sites.Fire fighters will construct handlines, dozer lines and begin firing operations to help contain the fire. Existing lines will be improved.
Growth Potential

Extreme. The fire in the Acton area has spread down to the lower slopes adjacent to the road.
Terrain Difficulty

Extremely steep and inaccessible
Remarks

Angeles Crest Highway remains closed and is the primary access route for numerous private residences and the Mount Wilson Communication Facility and Observatory. Multiple evacuation centers have been established. The Red Flag warning will expire at 9:00 p.m. the evening.