Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Close Call in Canyonland!

Hot and humid like never before in L.A. the past two weeks. High temp and high low temp records have shattered in the past week. Lightning has sparked brushers from deep in the California deserts all the way out to Catalina Island, 26 miles offshore, which got a Sunday morning lightning show that resulted in a brush fire on a remote part of the island.

I only got bits and pieces of scanning in all weekend, but heard some pretty good shit. What I didn't hear was the extremely awesome and rare coordination that sent multiple LACoFD crews to Catalina via United States Marine Corps Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC) from Camp Pendleton. Apparently, it was too risky to send crews via helicopter because of the lightning over Catalina Channel, so the Marines moved a whole bunch of equipment and crews onto the island to back up the undermanned County firefighters stationed on Catalina. But the city and county managed to escape any major brushers in populated areas until today.

Walking by the office TV tuned to CNN expecting to see the usual Israeli/Hezbollah action, imagine my surprise when I saw a KABC7 live helo shot of a ripping brusher in Benedict Canyon!!!!

That's a stone's throw from where I grew up and assets remain in the family name that we're not quite ready to part with. Got to my scanner to just in time to hear the tail-end of an OCD Channel 9 major brush dispatch sending units to stage at F.S. 71 (Sunset X Beverly Glen Boulevard).

By the time I tuned in, at least 20 units were already on scene and the big Bell 412's were dropping water, so helispots had been set up and good structure protection was in place. Quickly went to Major Emergency Brush, but work commitments kept me from babysitting the scanner and hearing the action. It's a bummer, too, because it's rare you get a major brush in such a densely populated area: I'm sure some of the assignments and moveups were awesome!

I know BHFD and LACoFD pitched in. Fire contained to about 25 acres of brush, one house's exterior got a bit toasty and a few firefighters had to sit because of heat.

Long story wrapped: The brusher basically spared Benedict Canyon, and I basically missed all the good scanning.