'STATION FIRE' - After the Burn


While the Station Fire has now burned almost 160,000 acres and continues to burn in fairly inaccessible areas of the Angeles National Forest, I took time out this past Saturday to drive through the burn areas in which I'd spent three days shooting a week earlier.  I first drove up the Angeles Crest Highway through the area where it all began over a week ago.  I drove past the parking lot where Al Simmons' nearly lost his truck when flames blew over a turnout in which we'd all taken refuge.  I also made my way to the top of the now famous Mt. Wilson which is home to an historic observatory as well as transmitters for almost every government and broadcast outlet.  Fire had been threatening this area for days and it appeared to have faired well with no apparent threat at this stage of the game.

With a monstrous header visible to the east, an inaccessible firing operation near Cogswell Reservoir,  I cut back down the Crest and turned north onto the Forest Highway, deep into the Forest.  Mind you, since I had been on scene a week earlier, the "Forest" had now been reduced to a black and ashy landscape reminiscent of the lunar surface.  As far as the eye could see, this once luscious and tree-blanketed wilderness, was now a smoldering, charred wasteland with the only creatures poking up from the ground being burned snags and melted street signs.  The fire had actually burned so hot in many areas the guardrails lay on the side of the road, twisted and without the hundreds of wooden posts that once supported them.  Road signs were now blank diamonds, rectangles and squares.  The roads not longer had lines to mark the center or edges.  Nothing was left.  For miles.