It was near the end of a series of flights from Copenhagen to Santa Barbara, and easily the best of the bunch.
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Above is a picture of the Station Fire, taken from the plane I was riding from Santa Barbara to Denver on Monday afternoon. I believe the water body at the bottom is the San Gabriel Reservoir. It lies in the midst of the San Gabriel Mountains, most of which are in the Angeles National Forest, much of which got burned up in the last two weeks.
I didn’t see this scene myself, since I was seated on the left side of the plane, with a view of the Mojave desert. But I knew the fire was there, below the right side of the plane, which had a perfect view of the burn area. So I handed my camera over to people sitting on the right side, and they made the shots.
The fire has been burning itself out in the back country, which it was doing on Monday when that shot was taken. Current stats: 160,357 acres, 71% contained, 3,647 personnel, containment expected on Tuesday September 15th, 2009, at approximately 6:00 PM. (Yes, they’re that precise.)
Above is the latest (as of this morning) MODIS satellite map (on Google Earth) of Station Fire spottings in the Angeles National Forest north of the Los Angeles basin. Near the center I’ve marked the Stony Ridge Observatory. While less familiar than the famous Mt. Wilson Observatory (and little known outside its own circles), Stony Ridge has a long history and is much loved as well as relied-upon.
This story in the LA Times raised concerns that Stony Ridge might be lost, but the latest word on the observatory’s own site, as well as the map above, suggest that it has been spared. I wonder to what degree this is because firefighters worked to save it, or that the fire simply avoided it. In any case it looks like a hole in the donut of surrounding fire—and that most of the fire spreading currently is away from populated areas.
Shows here in EdHat that there’s snow on Mount Baldy. That means there’s skiing in Los Angeles. Or close enough. Mt. Baldy is the highest point in the San Gabriel Mountains, which overlook Los Angeles from the North. Imagine a 10,064 mountain on Staten Island and you get the picture.
Skiing on Mt. Baldy is a trip. Mainly, a short one. Ignoring traffic (which you can do if you leave early enough), you can be there in under an hour from most of the L.A. basin. On a clear day you can see it from nearly anywhere there too. Its the big snow-capped one.
Here’s a photo set that gathers a few of my shots of Baldy, both from the ground and from airplanes.
And here’s a post I put up after a day of not-very-good skiing there. The snow wasn’t too bad, considering. The main problem was rookie snowboarders who crashed into the kid and I when they weren’t sitting on their butts like a bunch of traffic cones. From that post…
Rules for snowboarding on Mt. Baldy:
|1. Fall on your ass.|
|2. Sit on your ass, for as long as possible.|
|3. Wait for your friends to come and fall on their asses next to your ass.|
|4. Sit on your ass with your friends on their asses, for as long as possilbe.|
|5. Do all this in the middle of a trail. The narrower the trail, the better.|
|6. If possible, fall on your ass in the path of somebody else.|
|7. Have no skills. Other than falling on your ass.|
|8. When actually snowboarding, run into people.|
|9. When running into people, fall on your ass again.|
|10. Bonus: get the people you run into to fall on their asses too.|
Anyway, the kid is skiing this weekend in the Sierras somewhere, while I work in Atlanta. That’ll be fun too, but not quite the same.