Saturday, August 29, 2009

Irresistible Threat

A few days ago, this was this.

As flames close in on the hills above JPL and Altadena, I eat the words I wrote on my Thursday Overdog post: "obviously not threatened."

I wasn't going to take photos of the Station fire last night but I had to go look at it. We've all seen photos and news footage of brush fires, but to see this element doing its thing, which is neither good nor evil but magnificently ignorant of human values, is to feel awe.

I'll be asleep when this post goes online at a minute after midnight. Fire changes in seconds. At this writing, the Pasadena Star-News is reporting that the main JPL campus is "shut down" and some Altadena neighborhoods are preparing to evacuate. That could change at any second, just as the fire does. While John and I watched, the flames would disappear for moments, then reappear, red against the hillside, as high as buildings.

One neighborhood that may have to evacuate is The Meadows. It's a beautiful, rural area in the hills above Altadena. Greg Stanton, a very cool real estate agent, lives in and blogs about The Meadows and has more photos of the fire. It's from his blog I found this link to updates on the Station Fire.
In this photo, taken yesterday at about noon, Altadena residents watch the flames from the corner of Lincoln Avenue and Altadena Drive, not far below The Meadows. Incidentally, it's the first publishable photo I've taken with my new Canon 20D. I purchased the camera from Ibarionex Perello, who is probably out getting amazing shots of the fire right now. I'll bet he can't resist. I'll bet he has to go look at it. (Oh! I just clicked on his blog. Sure enough.)

Update, 8:40 am:
Kathy Christie Hernandez, our blogger buddy in La Canada Flintridge, is (as usual) posting excellent, up-to-the-minute information.
And check out more photos and info:
Tim, at Altadenablog.
Laurie, at Glimpses of South Pasadena, and click on her link to her overage blog.
Karin, the Altadena Hiker went up to the fire line last night.
Ben, at the sky is big in pasadena

Go ahead and click on the San Gabriel Valley blog links on the left side of the page here. I wouldn't be surprised if you find more.


Cafe Pasadena said...

I can tell the difference with your new camera! P, you "picked" a good topic to inaugurate it.

I wanted to eat your words, uh, caption, when I thought you wrote, "Irresistible Treat!" My initial thought was, "Oh Boy!"

Your right about the Foto Boy getting out to take a few shots of the fire for his blog. Hope he posts more.

Laurie Allee said...

I posted images from above Brookside Golf COurse. I was stunned by what I saw.

I linked to this post, too. Thanks for the Station Fire update link.

ben wideman said...

Just got home from some late night photos of the fire.

Yours are incredible. Thanks for sharing!

Dina said...

I can live without threats like these. Take care.

Shell Sherree said...

I echo Dina. Take care, all.

cieldequimper said...

Oh this is so scary. Hoping that they stop soon.

T Thompson said...

looks ominous and yet beautiful all at once, and reminds me of a line for "War of the Worlds" radio play.

...leveled as if by a giant with one capricious sweep of his hand.

Alexa said...

Your picture is beautiful, Petrea, and very very frightening. Been thinking of you for the past few days as I've heard about the fires in this area. I wish you the rain we're having right now on the East Coast. Stay safe.

Lenora Regan - said...

As a native Californian, this type of danger always make me uneasy. The photos are amazing, however, I hope the fires are put out soon. Thanks for sharing!!

Petrea Burchard said...

Hi everyone. Such an odd morning, with the sky so still and yellow.

Can you really tell the difference Cafe? That's sweet. I couldn't use the Canon for the night shot--I guess I don't know how to do that yet.

Laurie, thanks for linking. I was rushing, as usual, and didn't think of it. I haven't been visiting blogs as much as I'd like to. Now I've updated the post with links to local blogs. Your "Glancing About" fire stuff is especially (dare I say it?) lovely.

Ben, thank you. Likewise.

Dina, from someone who lives in Jerusalem that's saying something!

To Dina, Shell, Ciel, Ted and Alexa, and those who live elsewhere and may not know the lay of this land: Here in the flatlands the asphalt protects us, but our friends who live in the hills are in more imminent danger. But for all of us, the hills are part of our home, where we hike on weekends, walk our dogs, some of us ride horses, etc. These are our views, our landscape.

And those of you who call it beautiful are quite right. It's absolutely compelling. Hard to pull yourself away. There were lots of folks out watching last night.

Thanks, Lenora, I hope so, too. I'm sending all my good vibes to the firefighters.

Bellis said...

Darn, I wish I'd shown you the Sunset trail earlier - it may soon be gone. I'm praying to Father Junipero Serra for a change in the weather, because I hear he needs one more miracle to achieve sainthood. Rain should do it.

Amy said...


Nothing insightful to say, just scary.

John Sandel said...

It doesn't know we're here. We have to fight for our place. Sometimes harmony with nature goes up in smoke.

Kelly said...

I have a few photos from Friday over here.

Vanda said...

I could see the fire from Griffith park during my Thursday night hike. And today I wondered at the huge column of smoke rising from behind the mountains. It was very impressive even from Burbank.

When you think of smoke, you tend to think of something quick moving, but it was nothing like that. So still.

USelaine said...

I'm thinking of you all down there. Last year was a big smoky year for us in Mendocino, and I don't wish that anxiety on anyone. When we love nature, we have to accept all of it as a package.

Anonymous said...

what a photo.

Petrea Burchard said...

The Sunset Trail will be back. It will all come back. I should find the photos I took last week of the fire area from last year's fire at the Cobb Estate. It's all grown in.

Just call me Pollyanna.

The homes, injuries, that's bad. And the animals. That's awful. If they come down from the hills for water, please be kind.

Italo said...

It was huge!!!
PS: beautiful photos.

Hilda said...

This really is just awful. And California seems to have fires annually! I hope your amazing firemen have it controlled soon.

Virginia said...

It is so hard for us to imagine what you are all going through. Frightening, yet your photo shows us how beautiful the force of nature can be. Hope you are all safe and this nightmare is contained soon.

Petrea Burchard said...

Thanks, Italo.

Yes, Hilda, we have a "fire season." It's natural for the chaparral to burn. But with drought and the proximity to homes and towns (or perhaps I should say, the proximity of homes and towns to the wild areas), this one's particularly frightening. And it is huge now, covering more than 9 square miles by some estimations.

It is beautiful, Virginia. And eerie. Right now, all I suffer is cabin fever because the air is thick with smoke and if I step outside my nose and throat begin to burn. Boz has just about had it! I'll have to find something for him to do today.

By the way, I finally got today's post up. Thanks y'all, for coming by.

Gunn said...

Wow, strong photos...... sad

Cafe Pasadena said...

Pollypetrea, actually your photo looks like a pretty clear day for So Cal! That new Canon can really shoot.

Petrea Burchard said...

Hello Gunn, thanks for your visit. Your thoughts are much appreciated.

Cafe, a clear day in the 1970s?
Yeah, I'm liking what I'm learning with it.

James Strength Photography said...

Petrea, love your blog. I especially love your photos. Beautiful work.

Petrea Burchard said...

Hi James, thank you so much for your visit and your comment.