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the station fire: a tower of babble?

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the station fire: a tower of babble?

Postby jesu, joy of man's desiring » Tue Sep 15, 2009 8:23 pm

Obviously the firefighters have more important things to do than to report on our favorite peaks and trails...but there seems to be almost a news blackout about what's been burnt and what has not. Plus the usual rumors flying around. Everything's closed-off, so regular folks can't provide first-hand accounts, other than fly-bys.

The only things I've heard: Waterman ski lifts untouched...Newcomb's Ranch untouched...from my home in South Pas, it looks like Mt Lowe's S. face got burnt...upper SAC and upper Winter Creek threatened...Switzer's apparently is unharmed...40 of the local Sierra Club's 100 Peaks have been burned, though the Angeles Sierra Club posts no info on their site, and the Angeles USFS posts no info on their site. Frustrating.

Somebody out there must know something! Anyone know if these areas have been horribly burned: Strawberry Peak? Colby Canyon and upper-Tujunga watershed country? Mt Markham and N. sides of Lowe? The beautiful forested slopes along Mt. Wilson road? West face of Waterman? Horse Flats? Upper Arroyo Seco near Redbox? The beautiful slopes above Lower and Upper Millard Canyons? Rattlesnake Trail? I guess the basic question is: which of the most scenic areas have been burnt beyond recognition?

I'm usually too lazy to join environmental causes, but this is near-and-dear. TreePeople is already asking for Angeles re-forestation volunteers. First the soil has to cool off and the USFS hydrologists, botanists, and soil experts then do their analysis thing...then the work begins. See ya there.

--Steve
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Postby SpiderSavage » Tue Sep 15, 2009 8:48 pm

The roads are closed but the ANF is not air tight. I bagged the summit of Yerba Buena Ridge up from Oro Vista in Tujunga. Everything I saw from the top of that was totally burned out: From Pacoima Canyon across the whole Big Tujunga drainage, Condor, Fox, Lukens, Josephine, Strawberry.

Concerned about wildlife: I saw deer and coyote tracks. One lizard. Occasional trees and bushes. A rarely used fire road on the plateau saved that lizard and some ant hills. Found two deer, nothing left but a few bones.

I plan to continue to take advantage of the burn to access some ridges and peaks: Brown Mountain direct, Saucer Branch of Millard, direct lines on Lukens, Condor, Josephine and others.
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Postby jonclimbingon » Wed Sep 16, 2009 8:13 pm

Here's a video of the devastation shot by staff of the Mount Wilson observatory on the way up.

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/outposts/2009/09/angees-crest-highway-in-aftermath-of-station-fire.html

Makes my heart sink.
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Postby ksolem » Wed Sep 16, 2009 9:56 pm

Firefighters I spoke with who have been in the thick of it say they are stunned by the intensity with which the fire consumed old growth in the deep remote canyons.

My home is on the edge of the affected Angeles National Forest, and my yard has become the home of many displaced animals.

One dazed and confused buck:
Image

The Bear came over the wall:
Image

This one's got big feet:
Image
Image

Mr. Coyote:
Image


It’s sad. I can’t see things going well for a big old black bear who wanders down from here into the urban area. All so some firebug could catch a thrill.
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Postby jesu, joy of man's desiring » Fri Sep 18, 2009 5:56 pm

Dougb wrote: it is very sad to me when these giant fires erupt. All we hear about in the media is "how many homes were lost" and how humans were affected. There's a lot more things hurt by this crap besides humans.


Doug, you make a good point. There is a classic argument in SoCal: people building homes along the edges of wilderness, without "defensible space." Then during an arson/wildfire all the taxpayers pay an enormous cost to defend these homes, many of them McMansions. Meanwhile, the forest burns because the first priority is naturally to defend lives and structures. Burnt homes make the front pages, not ancient pinetrees.

At the risk of sounding like a bleeding-heart or a tree-hugger, it is frustrating to see a massive effort made to defend 23 unoccupied cabins, cabins that are used maybe 5 months out of the year, when entire mountainsides and canyons of old-growth are being consumed. Those cabins can be rebuilt in a few months, but for the remainder of our lives much of the Angeles Forest is now history. Yes, the forest is supposed to burn on occasion, but not with the frequency deemed by arsonists. I say re-plant it, if only for future generations. It can be done.

--Steve
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Postby MCGusto » Sat Sep 19, 2009 8:20 pm

As far as the lower part of the Old Mt. Wilson Toll Road (that leaves from Eaton Canyon Park), that is untouched from Pasadena up past Henninger Flats. Not quite sure about the upper reaches near the towers on Mt. Wilson proper. Eaton Canyon is currently open.

Gusto
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Postby The Chief » Sat Sep 19, 2009 8:37 pm

Steve1215 wrote: Yes, the forest is supposed to burn on occasion, but not with the frequency deemed ....--Steve


Oh, and who dictates the frequency?

Appears our hands (human's) have already determined that issue and one major reason why 25+ years of chaparral burned with such a fury.

Each year a fire does not naturally mitigate this area, equates to one foot of growth. So 25+ years of not allowing nature to run it's course, created this inferno.

FACT!

This is the same sad scenario that is occurring throughout the West. Suppressing natures mitigating fires only creates a monster of this proportion.

FACT!

Oh yeah, and none of this has absolutely NOTHING to do with AGW. Has to do with the concept of playing CONTROLLERS of nature and it's infinite wisdom. Like we know better.....right?


I say we stop playing God and start allowing Nature to run it's course. It knows far better than we ever will.
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Postby ksolem » Sat Sep 19, 2009 9:26 pm

A lot of what burned in the station fire was not what you would typically call chaparral, but groves of large ancient oaks. I have hiked through many of these groves both in the canyons and on the north side of mountains like Strawberry Peak. A fireman told me many of these old growths burned to ashes.

Of course it was chaparral which carried the fire to these places.

Now we're going to see some serious erosion and slides when the rain starts.

I wonder if they'll be able to keep highway 2 open...
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Postby The Chief » Sat Sep 19, 2009 9:34 pm

ksolem wrote:I wonder if they'll be able to keep highway 2 open...


$10 says that you will driving 210 to the 14 this winter Kris....


EL NINO is COMING!



It is gonna RAIN the likes SoCal hasn't seen in 4-5 years if not more.

Mark my words.

But folks do not think about these issues when they insist on controlling the natural laws that need to play out. Instead, they feud over the "conservation" issue that they determine and deem to be important.

Folks just don't learn.....
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Postby The Chief » Sat Sep 19, 2009 10:22 pm

Not at all what we here in Eastern Sierra have experienced at all.

Higher than normal Southern Monsoonal flow this summer.

Oh yeah, and this tid bit of El Nino (ENSO) beta...

[url=http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/analysis_monitoring/enso_advisory/ensodisc.pdf] NOAA ENSO Alert System Status: El Niño Advisory
Synopsis: El Niño is expected to strengthen and last through the Northern Hemisphere winter
2009-2010[/url]
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