An update, mainly for out-of-area folks vaguely worried about the news of fires in Southern California.
My immediate area is not threatened by the Station Fire. However, yesterday and today everyone here in northern Los Angeles County has been treated to the spectacle of an immense smoke plume. To left is what it looks like from orbit. Those familiar with the geography of Southern California will recognize the distinctive curve of Santa Monica Bay and the Palos Verdes peninsula, and should be able to identify the primary smoke sources as coming from the southern crest of the Angeles National Forest.
Yesterday, it was smoky and gloomy all day long. Today, the winds shifted and we had sunlight over our house, but not over the parts of town where we went to do our grocery shopping.
There are no evacuations in my immediate area, but there are some evacuations going on about fifteen minutes away in the nearby community of Acton.
The point is, don't worry about me. Worry about my friends. I have friends in Acton, I have friends in La Cañada. They're the ones who are most at risk right now.
The fire cannot really be contained well in the mountains. I know those mountains fairly well having hiked over many of them over the past several years. They are too rugged and steep for most firefighting equipment other than guys with axes and firecans -- and the conditions are such that setting up fire lines would be very dangerous all by itself, what with very hot weather and a prolonged drought to deal with. There hasn't been any appreciable rain in those mountains since February -- which is not all that unusual, but it does make for ideal conditions for a fire.
What I think can be done is to set up a firebreak in the easier territory at the base of the mountains -- but all the territory inside is going to be burned. That's forest and mountain land that I've come to like and appreciate quite a bit, and all of it is going to be gone. It will take a generation for the forest that I love to come back.