This photo from the Earth Snapshot Web site — www.eosnap.com; hat tip to Kevin Roderick at LA Observed — was taken yesterday from a satellite.
It was taken Sunday afternoon, our time, clearly — as anyone who was around in the morning knows that we were socked in by the worst smoke I’ve ever seen in the San Gabriel Valley before the winds finally turned onshore instead of down-canyon.
What a harrowing weekend of fear for friends who live along and in the evacuation zones; mourning for the two firefighters killed up near Acton; memories of the first home I owned, across the ravine from the Angeles National Forest at the foot of Echo Mountain; concerns for the front range, for the damage to the watershed and wildlife, for the mudslides to come. I am extremely worried about the historic telescopes at Mt. Wilson, where the universe as we know it was literally discovered.
The Super Scooper’s here — finally. Why doesn’t the state own its own instead of having to import from Canada at the (artificial, clearly) Sept. 1 start of the “fire season”? It’s always the fire season, now.
Now that it’s blown through, I’m eager to get up into the Arroyo Seco toward Gould Mesa and in Millard Canyon to assess the damage. The upper Arroyo is within the city limits of Pasadena way up above JPL because the stream is a source of city of Pasadena water. It’s a trout stream to boot and supports the lives of tons of other wildlife. Millard has many cabins owned by locals as getaways just a few minutes from town.
The firefighters are clearly doing tremendous work — saving lives, saving stuff — against terrible odds.
But I will never understand the lack of specificity in saying what’s been destroyed and what hasn’t on the part of public information officials. Are the dozen or so historic cabins in Millard Canyon just above Chaney Trail still with us, or are they not? The TV coverage — what there was of it — was so vague all weekend that we might as well have been talking about the moon, for all the familiarity reporters showed with the terrain. These are real neighborhoods, real streets, real canyons going up. Couldn’t we get a bit more specific than “from Altadena to Acton”?
I found the information bureaucracy incredibly frustrating. Nothing compared with the terror of the fire, the deaths of the heroic firefighters and the long-term consequences, of course. But still an absurd lack of candor about what’s gone up and where.