Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Station Fire from the Air

We flew to Colorado Springs this past weekend to visit the kids and Evie. On the way out last Friday morning I took some aerial shots of the massive Station Fire as it raged through the Angeles National Forest. This first picture is looking down toward the western edge of the fire. The 210 Freeway is barely visible on the right side of the image. The smoke in the La Cresenta, La Canada / Flintridge area in the middle and upper left is pretty intense.

As we paralleled the north side of the San Gabriel Mountains heading towards Phoenix, AZ (our stopover destination), we could see a pillar of smoke from the Mt. Wilson vicinity. While not as awesome as the mushroom cloud earlier in the week, this was still impressive nonetheless.

Here's a closer view of the smoke.

The kids said they got some smokiness in the Springs and in Denver, but thundershower activity during the weekend washed most of the particles out of the sky, so we had very nice, fresh air during our stay, and heavy rain one day. It wasn't until our return flight on Tuesday the 8th that we again saw the downwind consequences of the fire. In the photo above, we've just passed over St. George, Utah and the western-most edge of the storm cells when we encountered a distinct layer of smoke. While positively nasty looking from the air, it did not look quite as bad from the ground in Las Vegas. Then again, I was in an air-conditioned terminal and not out breathing the stuff.

As we approached Burbank from the north side of the San Gabriels the fire did not exhibit the towering pillers of smoke that we saw when we left. Obviously the fight was progressing, but as can be seen above, a lot remains to be done. The ridge to the far right, just below the trailing edge of the wing, is Mt Wilson. On my high-resolution image you can pull in and see that the radio and TV antennas are still standing, much to the relief of everyone. Still, the danger level remains high.

All in all, it was a very sobering sight


  1. Hi Tony, nicely done from the plane. For some more shots of the Station fire, the Studio11 blog has them! Your link above does not reflect recent entries, not sure why.

  2. I'm not sure why, either. I tried reloading your link and it's still shows the 2 month notation. Very odd.