Thursday, August 27, 2009


Over the past couple of weeks, we have spent considerable time and money getting one of our (relatively small) boilers retuned and recertified to ensure it puts out less than 30 ppm NOx and 400 ppm CO when it’s running, to keep our Los Angeles air clear and pristine.

In the distance you see a sample of Los Angeles’s natural high air quality.

Our plant sits right under a flight path into LAX. The gorgeous colors in the sunset are courtesy of the annual wildfires (as of tonight, four) in the hills surrounding Los Angeles.

This one in particular was acting lively tonight as I left work around 7 p.m. This is the “Station” fire, north of La CaƱada, at the point where the Angeles Crest Highway comes out of the hills and into the open San Gabriel Valley. Note the smaller smoke plumes to the left of the main column, where smaller branch fires are burning.

The fire is burning right about where the Tour of California has been routed for at least the past two years.

Note that the air is fairly clear, except where the smoke plume hangs. The evening wind was blowing the plume to the west, out to sea (and toward the airport). Overnight, the wind may well shift. On the horizon, behind the leftmost electric pole, is the skyline of downtown Los Angeles.

As I watched, I saw fire come up over a ridge, about 20 miles from where I was standing. At a moment like this, my thoughts go to one of our tenants, a second-generation Los Angeles County firefighter, who may be up in these hills right now.

I’m equally concerned tonight about a new fire, on Palos Verdes Peninsula, where I have often taken my bike, and where I had planned to ride this weekend. As it is, with all the smoke in the air, any kind of exercise is a proposition of dubious wisdom. As long as the fires were located in hills so far north of here, I hoped I could ride down by the coast and take advantage of the cool sea breeze.

I have friends whose families live within a few miles of the new fire, which has already burned homes. I hope they get it put out quickly, before it causes more damage.

1 comment:

CaliforniaGirl said...

It is good you had those boilers fixed. Responsible citizens like you keep the air the way it should be. The folks who run the TOC are smart to do it in a season that is not fire or road construction, even if it means riding in the rain.