The Fires This Time…are Personal

I’ve been out of my house in Altadena since Saturday night around 7:30 pm. We got the order to evacuate about 5 pm, and so we finished packing the car and drove to a friend’s house. My daughter and I left, that is. My husband stayed to keep wetting down the plants and the house. He has a fire hose, pump, and a swimming pool, so he felt safe in staying. I was not pleased, but after over 30 years with someone you know when they are not going to budge, so I said goodby.

Ash fall on my car Saturday morning
Ash fall on my car Saturday morning

I moved with the cat and daughter to a friend who lives just south of Farnsworth. I went back to give my husband a key I had accidentally taken, and to my surprise I got through. Since then, however, they’ve not been letting people in to my neighborhood at the north west end of Altadena.

Today has been very stressful as I’ve been driving around looking for vantage points and periodically testing the evacuation by seeing how far north we can get. The answer is not far. The fires are now directly above my house and have crested the ridge. The aftermath of a fire as large as this, so close to the urban fringe, will have enormous impacts for years to come. Many will be calling for “reseeding” the hillsides to prevent the inevitable mud flows. People hate to “do nothing,” but in this case doing nothing is probably the best thing to do, at least with regards to recovery of the native vegetation. With very steep slopes, even hand work will be unsafe. And so-called native see mixes usually have flowers from parts of California far away from here. In addition, those seed mixes inevitably have weed seeds mixed in.

View of the fire Saturday afternoon, looking west from Chaney Trail
View of the fire Saturday afternoon, looking west from Chaney Trail

More later. To close, here are more photos from the fire.

Multiple fires above Loma Alta Road on Saturday afternoon
Multiple fires above Loma Alta Road on Saturday afternoon
Smoke fills the sky Sunday morning. Here comes the sun.
Smoke fills the sky Sunday morning. Here comes the sun.
The fires on Brown Mountain, Saturday night
The fires on Brown Mountain, Saturday night

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