Last week, I wrote an editorial for our papers praising the county for leasing a big Sky Crane helicopter to help during this year’s tinder-dry fire season.
Sunday about 2 p.m., from the western edge of the Arroyo Seco right outside my house, I watched that chopper’s pilot at work as it dipped its long hose into the pond on Brookside paralleling the sixth fairway on the No. 1 course and filled up its tank for big dousings of the Las Flores Canyon fire that raged right above my old house on Alpine Villa Drive near the Cobb Estate, where Lake Avenue dead-ends into Loma Alta Drive in Altadena. The big orange guy was joined by three smaller copters and they did an unbelievable job in quickly dousing a fire that could have devastated the foothills once again. A large crowd gathered along Parkview Avenue to watch the show. Golfers were determined to finish their rounds even with the commotion and downdraft, but after a bit the PPD sent a cruiser out onto the links and the officer called out over his loudspeaker: “The golf course is closed!” and everyone had to hit the clubhouse for a beer. Did they get refunds for those expensive weekend rounds? The course remained closed all afternoon though the fire was effectively out by 5 p.m. Hard to believe that it was just 12 acres in size. It had started to come over the canyon’s ridge toward west Altadena before the chopper pilots did their work.