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Another Fire This Time

MJS's picture

I first noticed the smoke while waiting to move a patient in Baldwin Hills...


The plume was large enough to be seen for miles and miles...

The fire had been corralled (sort of) and the Griffith Park Observatory was safe...

We headed back to station as the sun set and the fire stewed...

Near the station I found this view looking towards Griffith Park--no inkling yet that the fire was simply biding its time.

A shot from near the pedestrain bridge that crosses the L.A. River...

Water dropping helicopters work for hours on end, and are joined by this aircraft which drops tons of agua on the flames...

The fire picks up pace after 7:00 p.m., and the Golden State Freeway (Interstate 5) just keeps on rolling.

The flames race south towards Los Feliz Boulevard, and all the homes on the hillsides. It begins to look like many homes will be consumed by the aggressive flames--the wind picks up, ash flies everywhere, and smoke chokes the sky.

The flames increase in intensity, and funnel clouds of white hot fire spin furiously on the hills. Many Angelenos gather near Los Feliz and observe the fire. The night is hot and no one knows what the fire will do next.

The fiery twisters and funnels were like nothing I have ever seen--powerful vortexes of intense heat, issuing great bursts of sound and fire, and running down the hillsides toward the homes. Terrifying and hypnotic, I will never forget them.

The Los Angeles River has seen it all, but it's been just over seventy years since a major fire burned in these parts of Griffith Park (true, a fire burned near the Oakwood Apartments in late March but that was contained before the sun set that day). All that brush, made even more dry and brittle by a year where barely three inches of rain visited L.A., was primed to catch fire.

This fire was enormous, and frightening, and predictable. We live in a fire zone, and we build right into its most combustible districts. So far, no dwellings have burned, but one local stated that the winds have a way of returning around 3:00 a.m., and flames that have been tamed have a way of acting up. Sleep lightly upon the pillow--and thank you to the more than seventy-seven fire companies who worked to fight this powerful force through the day and into the night.

CNN has more...


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Ruth's picture
Submitted by Ruth on

Listening to BBC this early a.m. I hear the Griffith Park Fire is under control for now. I hope all goes well.

Funny, haven't heard one word from your Governator about the lack of emergency equipment and National Guard. Curioser and curioser.


Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

mjs, however did you get those incredibly creepy colors on those flames? If it was not done with a filter of some sort, did it actually look that color to the naked eye? I've never seen anything like that outside of the world of pyrotechnics, and that requires the precise application of some very specific chemicals....can't imagine what would be on a natural hillside that would produce a burn of that color.

Wow, I say again. I think we've found the perfect place for a certain war criminal who is said to be fond of brush-cutting to do his community service after conviction. In the meantime, you stay safe.

Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

And here I thought the supernova that's in the news today was gonna be it for fires. Wow MJ, glad the fire hasn't gotten to any structures... I've seen my share of fires (one time in San Vicente Valley while house sitting for mom and dad in August of '98), and they are definitely amazing, freakish, frightening, and unpredictable... haven't seen twisters or funnels (save for licking fire curls...) and can only imagine what that is like. Glad you and the doggies are safe.



Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

the last thing LA's air needs is LESS trees clening out the carbon dioxide

MJS's picture
Submitted by MJS on

Xan: I didn't use a filter--the camera somehow converted a red/orange color into purple for reasons that only a creationist could explain. I saw deep shades of blood red in the fire that I have never seen before (except perhaps in the Night On Bald Mountain sequence of Fantasia). Maybe I have seen some of these colors before--when a campfire has a hot bed of coal when it has been fed enough fuel through the night.

The fire twisters on the Griffith Park Hill varied: one was a golden yellow, another a burnished red, another a wild and ominous mixture of black and a devilishly burned umber.

I saw one hot spot this evening after work, on an eastern slope of the hills. The weather has cooled and one feels confident that the fire has done its worst...this time.