Wildfire news, October 12, 2008

California: Marek fire in Little Tujunga Canyon

Update @ 7:00 p.m. PT: The fire is now 2,066 acres and is 20% contained.

From MyFoxLA:

More than 1,000 firefighters were assigned to the fire, which was largely halted by aggressive air and ground efforts. By mid afternoon, the blaze was 20 percent contained, said James Barnes of the Los Angeles County Fire Department. 

About 1,200 residents were ordered out of the area, and horses and other farm animals were walked, ridden and transported by to a recreation center at Hansen Dam.

A county fire official said it was unclear exactly when residents would be allowed back into their homes.

“You folks will not be able to go back in until at least tomorrow morning,” Los Angeles County Fire Capt. Mark Savage told evacuees. “We can have a tough night tonight, and the last thing we want to do, (A) put you in harm’s way, (B) put you in our way.”

Angeles National Forest spokesman Stanton Florea said the fire will likely burn for several days, but that firefighters were trying to get it tamped down ahead of dry and blustery Santa Ana winds expected this evening.

Update @ 1:30 p.m. PT: A spokesman for Los Angeles County fire department said firefighters are “getting a real good handle” on the the 750 acre fire, which has burned two homes, a garage, several sheds, and three motor homes. Strong Santa Ana winds are expected to arrive in the evening which will test the firelines being built this afternoon.

A fire north of Los Angeles, the Marek fire, has burned more than 500 750 acres and forced the evacuation of 1,200 people in Kagel and Lopez Canyons. The fire started at 2 a.m. Sunday morning and is being fought by 400 firefighters. The fire is being managed under Unified Command with LA City Fire department, LA County Fire Department, and the U.S. Forest Service. A Type 1 Incident Management Team (Opliger) has been assigned prepositioned on the Angeles National Forest. Pushed by 15-20 mph winds, the fire is threatening hundreds of homes.

For about 45 minutes we watched on live streaming video from ABC7.com the fire backing toward this structure (above). Finally the backing fire reached it and burned it to the ground. Either the firefighters could not reach it safely, there were not enough resources to assign an engine to it, or they were unaware of the the situation.

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Stronger winds are predicted Sunday afternoon and Monday, but are expected to decrease by Tuesday afternoon.

Zion Helitack aerial ignition

The Zion Helitack blog has a very interesting post about conducting a prescribed fire in Bryce Canyon National Park. They have several photos showing their involvement in aerial ignition.

Photo courtesy of Zion Helitack Blog

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