Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Another Barn Burner**

LAFD is working a major emergency brush in Griffith Park right now. Great vantage from my office on this 95 degree, no humidity day. LAFD's been pouring resources at it for awhile and staging at the Greek Theatre. For about 20 mins, looked like it was darkening down, but then the wind shifted and all hell broke...

Hot, dry brush is fueling this one and they've got a ton of City and County companies committed and no knockdown in sight. So far, no homes destroyed, but this thing still looks really ugly.

It's a busy day throughout the sizzling county.

***UPDATE*** So three-plus hours into the incident, the fire's still raging. Probably going to top out at over 150 acres when all is said and done. They've got a 20-year-old arson suspect being treated for severe burns at Hollywood Presbyterian right now.

It'll be at least 24 hours before this one is fully done. Meantime, the Johnny-Come-Lately L.A. Times got their act together today and are blogging the incident. Welcome to 2007, kids! (Sample of some text taken from the LAT Web site home page(!!!) at 11:33 p.m. The bold is mine. "BREAKING NEWS BLOG: According to the bayor, the blaze has now burned 600 acres."

Meantime, everyone is getting hammered on the call volume because of the heat, but since the Griffith Park incident is virtually all Engines, the City still has plenty of Light Forces available for the other crap.

Out in Malibu, Ventura County Fire is sending a helo to air-ambo someone out of LACoFD's 71's first-in over to UCLA Hospital.

***UPDATE*** 11 p.m. So today's fire might not be the "big one" of the summer (or even the Spring if it stays so hot and dry) but with 33 LAFD companies on the scene and probably at least that, if not more in mutual aid, Griffith Park is getting pretty worked over by fire.

When I started listening to this one go off on OCD 9 at around 1:30 this afternoon, the LAFD was doing what it usually does so well--flood the area with resources. They requested engine companies in groups of 10, which were then divided into As they ramped up the assignment, the wind shifted and moved the fire quickly into tinder dry brush that hadn't burned in years. What happened next is both amazing and fairly predictable: Fast moving flames fed by erratic winds (often caused by the fire itself) and and years of overgrowth long due for the burner.

Again, credit to the LAFD and allied agencies is plenty due here. So far, I've only heard of one structure getting minor damage (I think some embers got into the attic on a hillside home on Shannon Drive. Wood shake roof, natch, the culprit. For shame!) and no lives have been lost. Injuries have been limited to the alleged fire-starter who may have tried to extinguish the blaze before stumbling onto the Roosevelt Golf Course and being scooped up by the LAFD and transported to the hospital.

Mayor Tony V. on the tube right now, tie loosened doing his thing. Meantime, fire is still burning hot and heavy and throwing out tons of embers, which are one of the greatest dangers in a situation like this. Pray for the Marine Layer to make a return to the coast tonight, bringing higher humidities with it.

Also amazing to watch the LAFD and LACoFD helos doing extremely dangerous night drops. They've been on the fire lines for almost 10 hours now and have to contend with smoke, fire, unseen power lines, and, of course, the rising hillsides that like to eat aircraft.

LAFD on the tube right now saying the fire is "laying down for tonight" and they'll try to get a knockdown tomorrow. Councilman LaBonge says it's the worst fire he's seen in Griffith Park since the 1960s. That's what happens, my friends, when the vegetation doesn't burn for 40 years.

photo: laist.com


Karl said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Karl said...

The City of LA is in serious trouble with leaders like Mayor Teeth and Tom LaBonghit pandering to the camera.

Just listening to the various agencies dropping urgent matters to deal with McTeeth's late night media appearances was disheartening enough, but none more than the naming a new Central Bureau Deputy Chief (with one year's exerience as a Commander) because you have A MAJOR EMERGENCY in the Bureau where you demoted the acting Supervisor with 33 years experience.

I can only imagine how paralyzed the City of LA will be if we experience a Major Earthquake or Terror Attack...it is like watching a Three Stooges Episode that isnt funny.