Monday, November 2, 2009

The Station Fire Aug 27-Sept 18

Warning: lots of rambling about the Station Fire, what it was like, and what we did during that time. For cool pictures, scroll to the bottom.

So Wednesday morning we noticed the air was a little smokey. Some of Grant's football players called to see if they were going to have practice because of the air quality. Apparently a fire had started in Azusa. So Grant canceled practice. It wasn't that bad, but he didn't want parents to get all upset. Little did we know, it was only going to get worse, way worse. The next morning we woke up and the smoke was everywhere. We turned on the news to find out that a fire had started in the Angeles National Forest, right behind my parent's house (we live a few miles down the street and away from the mountains). Actually, it started more in the LaCanada area. The fire was really tiny at first and they hardly even mentioned it on the news. But within a couple of days it had spread east and west. Football practice got canceled just about everyday. People were heading toward the coast to get fresh air. The homes up along the mountain side were packing up their things just in case they had to evacuate. By Saturday night, the fire was really close to my sister's house and they evacuated. The next morning my parent's street was evacuated as well. My parents refused to leave. Instead they were held hostage (along with my sister, brother-in-law, their 4 kids, and my cousin that came by to help) in their home. If they were to leave, the policemen stationed at the top of Rosemont wouldn't let them back in. So, they stayed and my dad would go up on the roof every few hours and spray it with a hose to prevent spark-ups from flying embers. A lot of homes stayed as well to try to fight for their homes. At one point they set back fires right behind Dena's house. The flames came fight up to her property line. It is amazing to see the trees in the back yard that are green on one side and brown on the other. The firemen did a great job at saving the homes. Although a family in my ward lost theirs. They live way up the mountain and there was no way to save it. The fires lasted for several weeks and the school district had to close the schools for 3 days.

The baby sounded really congested, and I was feeling trapped in my home. So, when we found out school was canceled on Monday, we decided to take a trip. We figured school would be canceled Tuesday as well, but we weren't sure. So we took a gamble and got in the car and drove North. We figured once we heard school would start, we would head back. We left Monday morning and soon heard that school was canceled Tuesday. So we kept on going and stayed in Mesquite with Bryan and Jasmene. We got in the car and headed north and about an hour into the drive got word that school was canceled on Wednesday as well. We were relieved, because at this point we were planning on heading to Provo, Grant would play in the baseball game Tuesday night, and we would drive home through the night to start school on Wednesday. So luckily it was canceled. I have to note that the smoke filled the air all the way to Mesquite. Once it started clearing up, then we started getting closer to Cedar City where a couple of small fires had broken out. It was still way better then being right in the middle of the fire.

Did I mention that ash would cover our car and when I would wake up in the morning the house would smell like smoke? We had the A/C fan constantly running and when the filter was changed it was solid black.

Anyway, back to the trip. We arrived in Provo around 1pm. We went straight to Olive Garden where my brother, Mike, was working. Grant dropped us off and went and picked up Scot from the law school. We had a great lunch...Mikey was a great server! Then we all headed to the Scera Pool where we met my friends Kat and Olivia and kids. After that, Grant met up with Scotty Freak and I did some shopping at the mall with Kat. I bought a present for Katie C.'s baby and dropped it off at her place. We then went to the baseball game. Mike, Scot, & Brittany came as well. After the game we drove up to Saratoga Springs and hung with Grant's brother, Phil and fam. We slept there, got up the next morning, met Nanny at McDonald's for lunch, and headed back on the road. It was such a quick trip, but it was really a lot of fun! The worst part about it was having to come back to the smoke again. It wouldn't get better for weeks, but life had to go on.

The word from the "experts" was that the air quality wasn't as bad as LA's normal smog and the schools were the best place for kids. Grant was only allowed to do walk throughs with the football team until the air cleared up better. In total the fire burned over 200,000 acres. It was the first time these mountains had had a fire in 50 years. It will take 3-5 years for all the vegetation to regrow. This means the hills are a risk for severe mudslides. So for the next 3-5 years, there are large cement barricades along the streets and in front of many homes. Fun, fun! I'm just glad it's over.

Here are some cool pics taken right by my house-these pictures are just from the first few days. I don't have any from when they were right up against my sister's house, we were gone. Plus, the smoke was so bad by then that you couldn't even see the fire.

Heading up Ocean View toward Foothill

We drove up Angeles Crest Hwy and stopped at the barricades. The street was lined with cars watching the fire.

Driving up the mountains, as far as we were allowed

This is the flames starting to come up over the crest. We watched as the trees on the top of the ridge were engulfed with flames. It freaked Grant out having all the kids there, so we left. Oh man, it just kept on coming down the hill.

The next day (Thursday), I had to get out of LaCrescenta. So I took the kids to Kiddie Kandids to have Troy's 2 year picture taken. The air was smokey, but a lot better.

The girls were jealous they didn't get to have their pics taken.

My cute little boy!

These pictures are from the Saturday after they started. We drove over to Altadena and got some amazing shots. The smoke cloud was so huge, it looked like an A-bomb had deployed.

Compare this to the first picture, just 2 days later

Driving along the 210 fwy in LaCanada

The exit by the Rose Bowl

This is a great spot overlooking the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). As the fire would move, the location of the cloud would move... obviously.

Driving back on the 210 Fwy.

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