California forest closed as wildfire destroys cabins, threatens homes

Daniel B. Wheeler dwheeler at
Fri Sep 27 10:04:57 EST 2002

The Today Show on 9/27/02 has just reported the fire is now at 35,000
acres, and may take a month to contain.

Posted as a courtesy
Daniel B. Wheeler

dwheeler at (Daniel B. Wheeler) wrote in message news:<6dafee1b.0209262154.4a8e2ca0 at>...
> From The Oregonian, Sept. 25, 2002, p A17 (National)
> California forest closed as wildfire destroys cabins, threatens homes
> The danger of new fires is behind the closure of a vast expanse where
> some areas haven't burned for 40 years
> By EUGENE TONG, The Associated Press
> 	LA VERNE, Calif. - The 650,000-acre Angeles National Forest was
> closed indefinitely to recreation Tuesday as firefighters struggled
> against a wildfire that destroyed dozens of cabins and threatened $1
> million homes in nearby communities, forest officials said.
> 	The danger of new fires prompted closure of the vast, rugged expanse
> of tinder-dry trees and chaparral, where some areas haven't burned for
> 40 years.
> 	"We certainly can't afford another fire," said Darren Drake, a fire
> spokesman. "This has got our hands full."
> 	The Williams fire jumped from about 8,000 to 18,000 acres in a few
> hours Tuesday and raged across 11 miles of forest above foothill
> communities 40 miles northeast of Los Angeles.
> 	It was expanding to the east and also jumped fire lines at its west
> end.
> 	The fire was the larger of two dangerous blazes in California. The
> other raced over 1,600 acres in a Santa Clara County park. More than
> 1,000 firefighters were battling that blaze, which threatened 50 homes
> after destroying two outbuildings.
> 	The blaze started Monday afternoon and was only 10 percent contained.
> 	Fueled by hot, dry weather, the Williams fire swarmed up canyons and
> leaped ridges, destroying 40 cabins and recreation homes since it
> began Sunday. Brittle chaparral and manzanita exploded in flames when
> hit by sparks.
> 	Two dozen aircraft dropped water and fire retardant on the fire,
> which authorities said had the potential to grow to 20,000 acres.
> 	The fire threatened La Verne, San Dimas and other suburbs of upscale
> homes that perch among the foothills.
> 	Voluntary evacuations were called for at least 500 homes and 1,000
> people. A mandatory evacuation was ordered for 77 recreational cabins
> in San Dimas Canyon, and more than 200 youngsters were forced to
> abandon two juvenile detention camps.
> 	Temperatures approached 100 degrees in some areas, complicating the
> fight against the blaze.
> 	Police set up checkpoints in the area to keep out spectators who
> might clog roads and hinder fire engines.
> 	The forest is a key recreation area for the Los Angeles basin and
> residents of desert cities on the north side of the San Gabriel
> Mountains. It is crossed by several highways, including a heavily used
> commuter route between the desert and basin.
> 	The forest will not be reopened until fire season ends, which usually
> comes in late October with cooler weather, officials said.
> 	Smoke and ash from the Williams fire spread throughout the area,
> causing smog officials to issue a warning for unhealthful air in the
> surrounding San Gabriel Valley and other areas of the Los Angeles
> basin.
> 	The cause of the fire was under investigation.
> 	About half of the 2,000 federal, state and local firefighters at the
> scene were assigned to protect buildings, authorities said. Some slept
> in the backyards of La Verne homes overnight.
> 	The state office of emergency services on Tuesday dispatched 860 more
> firefighters and 205 engines. Units from 32 counties as far north as
> Sacramento had been sent to fight the blaze.
> Posted as a courtesy by
> Daniel B. Wheeler

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