Tag Archives: fire

Fire Season, Rain Season

Thankfully, it looks like the massive Station Fire is slowing down. Our thanks and prayers with the firefighters who have been slugging it out on the front lines.

Tuesday night was a little scary, when the fire moved over into the canyons above Monrovia, and for a little while Gretchen and I had to think through what we would pack up and what we would leave if the call came to evacuate. This is the first time we’ve lived close enough to the city / mountain divide to have to think about things like that. I don’t like it.

So, not to add more fear to anyone’s week, but I haven’t really heard anyone talking about this yet. This winter marks the return of El NiƱo, and all that comes with it. I wonder how the hillsides in the burn areas will fare if the rain really starts pouring in a few months.

Well, that’s for another day, I guess. I’m just glad that the danger is abating, for now.

Fire Season 2008

We got to church this morning to find everything covered in a layer of ash from the Yorba Linda fires. A few families from the church were evacuated, not sure yet if anyone lost homes. Is everyone safe?

Things That Are Flammable, In Order of How Awesome My Discovery of Said Flammability Was At Age 12

  1. Gasoline (my experiments were nothing if not exhaustive)
  2. Dry spaghetti noodles (used in a pinch to light a gas stove)
  3. Cotton Candy (why do more people not know about this one?)
  4. WD40 (in aerosol form only)
  5. Lighter fluid (can be mixed with sand and spread out to form incredibly awesome “flaming desert” campaign with toy soldier)
  6. Paraffin (note: melted down in sauce pan, spilled some over side onto open flame, whole pan caught on fire. Awesome results could not be duplicated, even after multiple iterations of test conditions)
  7. Scotch tape (part 2 of the experiment, wherein fumes of said burning are collected and inhaled, or “huffed”, was inconclusive)
  8. Dried rose petals (experiment was conducted in the hollowed-out bottom of a broom handle, with fume aperture drilled into the side and connected to a venting tube. Crushed and dried petals did not ignite but smoldered successfully)
  9. Tennis ball slit open and filled kerosene (media reports of this experiment greatly exaggerate the danger of the test conditions. First, if a certain neighborhood collaborator known as M. Baum hadn’t been so afraid of a flaming ball of fire being kicked through the air toward him, he might have successfully blocked it from hitting the pine tree. Secondly, with a little circumspection and foresight, said M. Baum might have realized that the best way to extinguish a tennis ball filled up with flammable liquid is NOT with vigorous stomping. I believe this experiment can, and should, be conducted again with more carefully selected personnel in assisting roles.)
  10. Epichlorohydrin, one of the two compounds used in making epoxy, when cooked together with nitrate fertilizer over low heat and set in a paper cup suspended over a flaming mason jar full of windshield washer fluid. For best results, conduct experiment underneath a trampoline while 8-year-old sister is jumping above you.

Remember kids, if your home flammability experiments don’t result in being placed on the Homeland Security Terrorist Watch List, you’re not doing it right.

Griffith Park Fire

So, our hills are on fire. They’ve got it mostly contained now, but last night it was a very eerie sight – the newly reopened Griffith Park observatory, the zoo, the trails, all shut down because the entire hillside was lit up. I sat in traffic at the 134 / 5 interchange, parked on the overpass about a half-mile from the hill, and watched the fireline crawl over the crest of the park.

griffith park fire

Sophia and I are staying inside today, because the air here is thick with smoke – you can feel it when you breathe. And not in the good way. For those of you who aren’t nearby, we live about 3 miles from the fire.

map to fire