Wednesday, May 9, 2007

So my town was on fire yesterday.
It's been all over the news so this isn't new information here. Just pictures. It started at around 1:30 in the afternoon while I was at work in Glendale, which is in line with where the smoke headed. It looked like you were wearing sunglasses when you walked outside because only red rays from the sun were filtering through the smoke. Ash started falling around 3. I didn't really think it was a big deal.
I took a different route home to avoid the freeway right next to the fire, and as I crossed a bridge I had a good view of the hills and I could actually see flames. At this point the fire seemed to be under control.
At about 7:30 my roommates called me outside. The smoke, which had been a dirty tan the whole day, was suddenly dark gray. And there was lots more of it.
We jumped in his car, drove around the corner, and our jaws dropped. There were flames straight ahead in the hills. A few traffic lights were out, and tons of people were standing on the street corners, taking pictures and calling friends. We parked and joined them - this was a once-a-lifetime event.
Right before darkness fell we drove to my roommate's friend's house. He wasn't at home, but we stood on his porch because he had an unobstructed view of the hills. That's when we saw the west edge of the fire, which had been made up of small, red flames, suddenly burst into bright white-orange flames and spread quickly. Helicopters started attacking the top of the blaze which was about to reach a crest - the final crest between the fire and Griffith Observatory, which just completed a 4-year renovation. They succeeded, but the blaze continued down the mountain towards inhabited areas unabated.
Every now and then a new flare up would burst and we'd see huge flames right behind the final ridge between the fire and our neck of the woods. We thought those were houses going up, but they weren't. They were probably pine trees. But it was scary. We couldn't believe how fast it was moving and how quickly the firefighters were loosing control. I guess they had decided to let certain areas burn - it probably needed it, as part of what should be a natural cycle.
This morning streets were still closed down and at one point of my commute I saw smoke still coming from parts of the hills. I also saw whole sides of the park burnt bare. I will go up there when the streets are reopened and take more pictures of the devestation.

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