Massive Station Fire was Human-Caused

September 2, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
After a week of relentless attack, firefighters are finally seeing some success. While the Station Fire has grown to 140,150 acres by Wednesday, authorities say they have made significant progress.The fire is 22 percent contained. Officials say the containment number may increase, but it really depends on the weather.

"We had as much as 50 percent humidity in some areas last night. It's going to get all the way back down to 10, 10 is when we saw those huge plumes of smoke," said Capt. Mark Whaling from L.A. County Fire.

Whaling said visibility will be better for pilots on Wednesday, so they will be able to use aircrafts more.

The area of concern on Wednesday is an area known as Devil's Canyon in the San Gabriel Wilderness Area in the eastern flank of the fire.

Mike Dietrich of the U.S. Forest Service characterized the fire as cranky, which is an improvement from two days ago when he called the fire angry.

The latest on the fire is as follows:

  • 140,150 acres burned
  • 22 percent contained
  • 62 homes destroyed
  • 27 outbuildings destroyed (including garages, sheds, gazebos)
  • 3 commercial buildings destroyed
  • 6 homes damaged
  • 5 outbuildings damaged
  • 10,000 homes still threatened
Mount Wilson is in very good shape, Dietrich said, and that's because of a lot of work done on Tuesday.

The Martin Mars, a 1940s-era aircraft, greatly aided the fire fight: It is able to drop 7,200 gallons of water during each pass that it makes.

Crews have been setting backfires to burn out the dry brush before the fire gets there first. Crews are also using bulldozers to build a containment line.

About 6,000 homes are still under mandatory evacuation orders in the foothill communities that are being threatened by the Station Fire.

The fire is expected to be moving east because it will be fanned by winds blowing southwest toward Highway 39. Communities in that area could be at risk on Wednesday.

The fire has burned about 199 square miles. The expected containment date is September 17.

The cause of the fire has not been determined.

At a community meeting at High Desert Middle School in the Acton area, officials gave residents good news. Officials said Acton evacuees in the Soledad Canyon, Agua Dulce, Bootlegger and Crown Valley area would get to go home Tuesday night. All remaining evacuees would likely return home Wednesday evening.

Lowenthal said the blaze had movement to the east and to the northeast overnight Monday.

Mandatory evacuations issued for the following areas:

North side:
Acton:

  • Soledad Canyon Road between Agua Dulce Canyon Road Road to Bootlegger Canyon Road
  • Angeles Forest Highway south of Aliso Canyon
National Forest:
  • Soledad Canyon Road/Bootlegger Canyon Road area
  • Little Rock Recreation Area
  • Mount Emma Road
  • Cheseboro Road
  • Cima Mesa area northwest of Juniper Hills
South side:
National Forest:
  • Big Tujunga Canyon Road from Mount Gleason to Angeles Forest Highway
  • Chantry Flats
  • Little Tujunga Canyon Road north of the Little Tujunga Ranger Station and Gold Creek Road
Altadena:
  • Prieto Fire Road and Millard Canyon north of Rising Hill Road
  • Chaney Trail and Alzada Drive north of Jaxine Drive
  • Areas east of Fair Oaks and north of Loma Alta Drive
Tujunga:
Northwest of Day at Blue Gum Canyon Road, to Glory Avenue, to westbound Apperson Street, to northbound Fairgrove Avenue, to westbound Summitrose Street, to northbound Pinyon Avenue, to westbound Hillrose Street, to northbound Sevenhills Drive, to Lonzo Street.

Glendale:
  • South side of Markridge
  • Skyridge
  • Skyview
  • Brittany
  • Arnell
  • Top of Boston, north of Markridge
  • Top of Dunsmore, north of Markridge
Voluntary evacuations are issued for the following areas:

North Side:
Juniper Hills
  • South of Fort Tejon Road from Mount Emma Road to Longview Road
Littlerock
  • Littlerock Recreational Area, Mount Emma Road and Cheseboro Road
South Side:
Glendale:
  • North of Santa Carlotta Avenue, between Lowell Street and Pennsylvania Avenue
Evacuation shelters:
  • La Canada High School, 4463 Oak Grove Drive
  • Crescenta Valley High School, 2290 Community Ave., La Crescenta
  • Golden Valley High School, 27051 Robert C. Lee Parkway, Santa Clarita
  • Verdugo Hills High School, 10625 Plainview Ave., Tujunga
  • Marie Kerr Park, 39700 30th Street West, Palmdale


Animal Evacuation Centers:
  • Antelope Valley Fairgrounds; 2551 W. Avenue H, Lancaster (Large animals)
  • Hansen Dam Equestrian Center, 11127 Orcas Ave., Lakeview Terrace (Large animals)
  • Pierce College, 6201 Winnetka Ave. (Horses, donkey and mules only)
  • Loma Alta County Park, at Lincoln Avenue and Loma Ala Drive, and La Canada High School
  • Lancaster Animal Shelter and Agoura Animal Shelter (Small animals)
  • Pasadena Humane Society (Small animals)
  • Baldwin Park Shelter (Small animals)
  • Los Angeles County Animal Shelter (Small animals)
  • Agoura Hills Animal Shelter (Small animals)
  • Sunland Park, along Foothill Boulevard near Sherman Grove Avenue (Small animals)


For more information on evacuation centers, the U.S. Forest Service urges residents to contact the American Red Cross at (888) 737-4306.

Evacuations are lifted for the following areas:

La Canada-Flintridge
  • Highrim Road
  • Manistee Drive
  • Derwood Drive
  • Bristow Drive
  • Normanton Drive
  • Earnslow Drive
  • Fairhurst Drive
  • Rock Castle Drive
  • Canalda Drive
  • Ocean View north of Canalda Drive
  • All areas west of Arroyo Seco Road at Ocean View Boulevard, south of Canalda Drive, and Briggs Terrace.
La Crescenta
  • Ocean Boulevard north of Canalda Avenue
  • Briggs Avenue to Pennsylvania Avenue North of Orange Avenue
Altadena
  • Fair Oaks Avenue west to Arroyo Seco Road


Fire officials say they are looking to lift evacuations in the Alpine Village area and the community directly to the south in the near future.

The Associated Press and City News Service contributed to this story.

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