LA Times re-publishes historic photos from 1961 Bel-Air Fire

The above photo by George Fry appeared on the front page of the Nov. 7, 1961, Los Angeles Times. This image and several others were recently scanned from the original negatives. An older version of this post was published Nov. 7, 2010. LA Times Photo.

Above: This photo by George Fry appeared on the front page of the Nov. 7, 1961, Los Angeles Times. This image and several others were recently scanned from the original negatives. LA Times Photo. 

The Los Angeles Times on Wednesday re-published a look-back piece about the 1961 Bel-Air fire that charred nearly 500 homes in a high-end, celebrity-packed part of the city.

In addition to the (fascinating) half-dozen photos dug up from the archives and republished, The LA Times coverage included this line:

“Among the most notorious California wildfires, the Bel-Air/Brentwood fire began in a trash heap…..a blaze that left hundreds of the rich and famous homeless in what LIFE magazine called ‘A Tragedy Trimmed in Mink’ and prompted brush clearance laws and an eventual city ban on wood shingle roofs.”

The brush fire started Nov. 5, 1961, and blackened more than 16,000 acres. Santa Ana winds fanned the flames.

Want more? Here’s some local news coverage from that pre-Twitter world (there’s plenty of other videos on the fire worth watching if you can’t quite get enough of a trip down memory lane on this Throwback Thursday).

 

Author: Jason Pohl

In addition to writing for Wildfire Today, Jason Pohl reports on law enforcement and public safety issues for the Fort Collins Coloradoan newspaper.

1 thought on “LA Times re-publishes historic photos from 1961 Bel-Air Fire”

  1. Great rewind in history. For those of us who where about to enter the fire service these picture show how little we have improve our fire suppression capability over the decades. Gatlinburg, Oakland Hills, San Diego (Witch). When Mother Nature wants to “blow” horn (strong winds) there is little that can be accomplished once we fail at initial attack. Mandeville Canyon Ranch picture with a real “borate bomber” dropping. One of the three AJ Air Tankers Inc. of Burbank, Ca. The tanker is a AJ Savage (Tanker 88?) tanked for 2000 gallons.

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