September 13, 2009

Local: Station Fire

I'm back!

Did you miss me?

Well I missed you!

Like I said in my last post, summer ran away from me. Then as soon as I thought it was coming to an end... it got busier! I didn't even know that was possible.

As soon as my summer was wrapping up, my husband found me an opportunity for the school year! More hours, computers, and the kids are nicer... Umm I'm there! The problem was that the first and last week overlapped a bit. I was running from one job to the other, while trying to stay sane.

And while that was happening the world decided to light on fire. Did you hear about the fires here in Southern California? Or more specifically the Station Fire in La Canada/La Crescenta/Tujunga? Well, that's my backyard.

The entire Crescenta Valley was turned upside down. We haven't had a fire in the area in 30 years, and some of the areas there hasn't been a fire in over 50 years. Many of our friends were evacuated. Those that weren't stood on street corners watching the fire. The school year got postponed. Information was so hard to find for days that everyone was either glued to their TV channel surfing to get anything they could, updating Twitter with what they knew, checking Facebook to see what their neighbors view of the fire was, or constantly refreshing the LA Times online fire map. Needless to say every last braincell was spent on tracking this fire.

I got my camera out multiple times a day to capture what it was like.

On August 29th, we were heading down to Orange County for my cousins wedding. I think this was when it really hit us how close the fire was to our community. This was the view from the freeway:


We spent the rest of the night at the wedding checking the news. While we were gone the community right above Doug's school (actually including his school) were evacuated. We live just a few blocks away from the most western point of the evacuation zone.

This was the view from our backyard on August 30th.
The fire had creeped over the hill behind our house.

I wish I could tell you that the giant cloud behind the fire was a thunderhead coming to bring us rain and put out the fire. But thats not what it is. The fire back in the forest was so extremely hot that it caused it's own weather system!


I can't even begin to explain how creepy it was to see flames on the hill when I was sitting on our living room couch.


We climbed up on the roof to see what else we could see.


About 30 minutes later we got a pretty cool show because the water dropping helicopter showed up!


But the fire just kept on burning....



On August 31st it was still burning in almost the same location! It moved so slow.




We were in the path of the water dropping helicopters. It sounded like a war zone from 11 in the morning until dark.





Here is a timelapse video my wonderful husband took from our backyard:

At night you could really see the flames. It almost felt better then the daytime because you knew where the fire was. In the morning everything would be covered in smoke. It felt like the fire could be right behind your house and you wouldn't even know.

This was the view from the front of our neighbors house.


(Just an FYI, it's REALLY HARD to take pictures of fire at night. Half the time I didn't have my tripod so I had to use my car as one, or we were driving and then we'd see an amazing view, or the camera would get all shook up from my finger pressing the shutter button.
So please. Be nice :) )

We decided to be one of the horrible people that went driving around sightseeing.

We had good reasons. I swear!

A) Our view from our house was only of one hillside.
B) We had to see if Doug's school was still standing.
C) This was the most exciting thing to happen in the La Crescenta area since the YogiBBQ truck showed up.

How could we miss it?

Ok, back to the photos...


We parked the car across the street from the school (which was technically evacuated at this point). The entire hillside behind was on fire.


We ran back home to grab the tripod and the video camera and this is what our hill looked like.

Ok, back to the school.


The fire looked like lava creeping down the hill.


This was the view from the front of the school.


As you can see the streets were blocked off with cops at the corner. Every single block. La Crescenta takes their evacuations very seriously.


The next morning there were giant ashes everywhere. We didn't really get many ashes at all except that morning.

By this time the main part of the fire had gone away, but the firefighters were not taking any chances. They lit backfires to burn anything that didn't burn. They fought fire with fire.

But the black clouds coming from the hills behind our house were still unsettling.

At least the water dropping helicopters made for a good show!





The fire died down during the day, but backfires could still be seen all over the hill.



But the sky still looked nasty.


I'd like to thank all the wonderful firefighters out there who helped with the Station Fire. Without all of you many of us could have lost homes and our community would have been devastated. We can't thank you enough.

But my thoughts and prayers go out to the families in other areas that did lose everything. A family that worked at the camp that Doug and I met at were one of the families that lost their home. The rest of the camp survived, but their home did not. They have 4 of the cutest kids on the planet. So please keep them in your thoughts and prayers. They really need it right now.

On a happier note... I'll be back really soon with some announcements and more pictures of course! So stay tuned!


Michelle Simpson Photos said...

Wow. I am so glad that you are ok and so is your neighborhood and the school! But how awesome for you to document what happened! Those were all some amazing shots!

Tasha said...

Oh, my! I'm that you're alright. You took some very nice and informing shots. I heard about the fires, but this makes me realize just how close and scary those kind of things are!