Sunday, August 30, 2009

Small Fires

Yesterday I deliberately didn’t ride hard, and didn’t take this road around the perimeter of the Palos Verdes Peninsula, because there had been a fire back here. I didn’t want to be working my lungs too hard if there was going to be a lot of smoke, and I wanted to stay out of the way of emergency crews.

It turned out I could have headed back here after all; the fire was out already by yesterday, and smoke was light, if there was any.

The fire consumed about 235 acres. (A square mile is 640 acres.) It damaged six homes and destroyed a couple of “outbuildings,” as they call structures that aren’t homes. It’s pretty easy to imagine it being worse.

As you can see, the fire burned right up next to a few homes, and it wasn’t far below some others. That had to make for some nervous hours for homeowners.

The headline-grabbing fires have been in the San Gabriel mountains; the biggest right now has scorched 42,500 acres, and is only 5% contained. Homes have been destroyed; more are threatened; families have had to evacuate; the fire may knock out broadcast television in the Los Angeles area when it crests Mount Wilson, where many antennas are located.

(When I got home tonight, my cell phone inexplicably dropped service. I live far from the area that’s burning, so I know my local cell tower hasn’t burned. But it may rely on relay transmissions from up there. Or it could have been completely unrelated.)

I’m relieved for friends who live on Palos Verdes Peninsula that damage here was so light, and that the fire is out.

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