Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Griffith Park Aflame

In which we say not again, not for the last time this long, hot summer

In 90-plus degree heat, Griffith Park, near the Greek Theater, is on fire. The billow of smoke already rises thousands of feet into the air. Flames that crested the hill a few minutes ago were clearly visible from my office window some five miles away, perhaps 40 or 50 feet in height. Helicopters are dive-bombing the flames with water or flame retardant.

Update: Weds., May 9, 10:00 a.m -- Went to sleep last night early thinking that the worst was over only to wake up this morning with the acrid smell of smoke filling my lungs. Last night strong and unpredictable winds fanned the flames causing evacuations of some 300 park-side residents. It raged all night and into this morning. I could still see billows of smoke as I rode to the office. All seems calm now, however. The fire seems to have burnt itself out, having consumed all the "expendable" fuel -- everything on the hill but the houses -- leaving all the critters up there without homes and what little food was available during this dry, dry year. No doubt I'll be seeing more coyotes foraging around the 'hood in the coming weeks.

A friend at the office who lives in Los Feliz and who drives by the eastern slope of the park each day on his way here reports that the entire hillside is black. This was my favorite nearby hiking ground. I was just there on Sunday morning. I'll go there again this weekend to survey the damage.

I nasty brown pall -- I mean nastier than usual -- has settled over the Valley, giving all the light an unhealthy orange cast. It's a shame because the days leading up to the fire were some of the clearest in weeks.

Rumor has it that the fire may have been started by a golfer who carelessly flicked a butt into the brush. No last cigarette for that cock-sucker. No blindfold, either. Just ready, aim, fire...
Photo Courtesy: Dogballs


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