Mt. Hollywood Burns
A workmate flagged me down at about half-past one this afternoon and pointed out the window. In the distance, south of the Disney tower in Toluca Lake rose a huge plume of smoke. We went up to the roof to look and I brought my camera. According to news reports, the fire started on the north side of the Hollywood Reservoir and rapidly made its way into the Barham Pass / Cahuenga Pass area, where it threatens the large Oakwood Aparments complex.
After a few minutes flames were clearly visible to us on the rooftop, some 5 miles distant. Through the binoculars -- which I keep in my desk drawer for watching planes fly in and out of Bob Hope Airport across the street from my office -- I could see tanker helicopters dive-bombing the flames with jets of water. Then, back at my desk, I fired up the Internet to see what news. KTLA.com offered a live video stream of the fire. Watching it I could see the same helicopters descending onto the Hollywood Reservoir to snorkle water out of the lake.
Ash is beginning to fall.
The response of the fire crews and the media has been phenomenal. The live stream at KTLA was up within minutes of the start of the fire. Judging from that media coverage, the fire crews have shown stunning professionalism in dealing with the crisis.
As of this moment, however, the fire is still burning out of control.
The fire at 3:00 p.m.
Right now I'm glad I live on the west side of the Cahuenga pass in Studio City, as the wind is blowing the smoke and ash eastward over Glendale and Burbank. It promises to be a very smoky and unpleasant weekend for those folks.
The news reports say that 150 firefighters are fighting the blaze.
Update: The fire is out. Two teenagers started it. They turned thenselves into the police. Stupid bastards. Well, I played with matches, and worse, when I was young. Luckily I never burned up 120 acres of valuable habitat for wildlife trapped in an urban setting. Looking at the damage today from the next hill over, some of it looks pretty bad, with large patches of ash in some places. It'll be bad when the rains come again, if they ever come again, as there will be nothing to hold down the loose ground. I feel bad for the chipmunks, coyotes, deer, possums, lizards, squirrels and other pesky li'l critters who struggled to make that already bleak hill their homes.