as a weekly practice I listen to npr and do a little sketch on one of the stories. take a look, you can click on the illustration to make it bigger!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Fire Near Los Angeles Grows In Triple-Digit Heat

A wildfire sweeping through the mountains above Los Angeles continued to spread Tuesday, burning scores of homes and threatening thousands more as well as a historic observatory housing some of the largest telescopes ever built.

At least 53 homes have been destroyed in the Station Fire as neighborhoods on the northern and southern flanks of the blaze were evacuated. Fire officials say it may take weeks to fully contain the flames.

The fire is by far the largest of several dotting the state. For six days, it has plowed its way through half-century-old thickets of tinder-dry brush, bush and trees just 15 miles north of downtown Los Angeles. Some 12,000 homes are threatened and about 2,000 people have been forced to flee their homes.

heard on Morning Edition
September 1, 2009
Calif. Wildfires Spread, Homes Destroyed
[4 min 56 sec]
The flames threaten to climb Mt. Wilson, home to a landmark 100-inch telescope that was the largest in the world until 1948. It is also the site of most of the radio and TV station towers in Los Angeles. Firefighters were setting backfires and spraying fire retardant in the area to halt the flames' advance.

Dixie Dees, a spokesperson with the Station Fire Incident Command center, said the fire — which so far has destroyed more than 105,000 acres, or about 164 square miles, and is just 5 percent contained — was doubling in size every day and "behaving very erratically."

Fire spokesman Paul Lowenthal said Tuesday that the blaze is not expected to be fully surrounded until Sept. 15.

Crews fighting the blaze were also grappling with weather conditions that favor fire, such as temperatures topping 100 degrees and low humidity. Temperatures near the Station Fire were expected to hit 102 degrees Tuesday, the National Weather Service said.

EnlargeJustin Sullivan/Getty Images
U.S. Forest Service workers hike down a hill while fighting the Station Fire on Monday in Tujunga, Calif.
"It gets to a point in the afternoon with the wind coming up that it even makes its own weather," Dees said. "When the temperature goes up and humidity goes down and the wind comes up, which is what's happened in the last three or four days, that's kind of the perfect storm for very aggressive fire behavior."

Officials were looking for a break in the weather Tuesday and hope "Mother Nature cooperates," said CAL FIRE spokesman Daniel Berlant.

The swath of fire extends from the densely populated Los Angeles foothill communities of Altadena, La Canada Flintridge, La Crescenta, Tujunga and Sunland in the south to the high-desert ranchlands of Acton.

Tujunga Canyon resident Bert Voorhees said he and his son were able to retrieve several cases of wine from the brackish water of their backyard swimming pool Monday, about all he salvaged from his home.

"You're going to be living in a lunar landscape for at least a couple of years, and these trees might not come back," the 53-year-old Voorhees said, wondering aloud how many of his neighbors would choose to rebuild.

Los Angeles County Fire Department, Google Maps
See A Map Of The 'Station Fire' Near Los Angeles
Two firefighters — Capt. Tedmund Hall, 47, of San Bernardino and firefighter Spc. Arnaldo "Arnie" Quinones, 35, of Palmdale — were killed Sunday when their vehicle plummeted off a mountain road. At least three residents who ignored an evacuation order suffered major burns.

Several fires across the state are much smaller and largely contained, but a new blaze in San Bernardino County — directly east of the Station Fire has engulfed 900 acres so far and threatens 2,000 homes.

-excerpt from NPR

1 comment:

jacob jones said...

I think they should create a underground irrigation system that will be high pressured and only set to turn on during a disaster such as this one with the wild fires spreading. According to the history of wildfires In LA it's always the same area and the same issues at this point we must move forward with something that will act fast during a crisis as this one, I believe if they spend over 1 billion on something that will save homes and save life's it will go on a good standing with others. Stop the fires save a life simple as that.