Lab Week 8: LA Fire Station


This map was taken from the United States National Forest Reserve

The station fire in Los Angeles County that begun on August 26, 2009 and was still burning into the first two weeks of October was a deadly one. The fire reached its full potential between August 29th and September 2nd. It was the biggest wildfire in Los Angeles history according to LA Weekly.  It quickly swept over 20,000 acres on August 29th and it was reported by the U.S. National forest reserve to have burned over 160,577 acres by the time it was put out. The quickness of the fire was generated by the terrain, humidity and temperature.  The steep terrain meant that only tankers and water dropped from helicopters would be able to stop the massive flame.

The station fire was most like either a crawling fire or a jumping fire. A crawling fire begins by crawling through low-lying bushes or vegetation and a jumping fire can actually jump from branch to branch or  across roads with the help of the wind. However, it was not the winds that really or continued to let this fire destroy a large part of LA county. The Santa Ana winds don’t usually begin until late October, but California was exceeding normal temperatures that summer and we were in the middle of a three-year drought.

In LA weekly the say how the low humidity was able to help the fire grow and claim such a large part of Pasadena. With temperatures in the 100’s at that time the flames were only able to grow and grow. The summer temperatures and the end of the potential rainfall season caused the dying off of vegetation leaving the perfect setting for fires to combust. These conditions made it extremely difficult for firefighters to even put out the smaller fires and the fires only grew with the lack of water.

Over 89 homes were destroyed and 209 structures were destroyed by the time the flames died on October 16th 2009. California is at a high risk for more fires to take place. The drought and the increasing temperatures and humidity make California more and more susceptible to this natural and human caused disaster. When driving through California you pass so many areas that are undeveloped and could easily go up in flames with one match. The solution isn’t to build a thousand homes and destroy the beautiful California landscape but something needs to be done to these areas to clear the brush and find someway to prevent fires from destroying our homes.

Bates, Colleen D. “Station Fire Spreading.” August 29, 2009. Date accessed: November 22, 2010

Deioma, Kayte. “California Burning-Station Fire Looms Over LA.” August 29, 2009. Date accessed: November 22, 2010.

Hempiel, Daniel. “War of Worlds Over Fire Station.” September 8, 2009. Date accessed: November 22, 2010. Date accessed: November 22, 2009 Date accessed: November 22, 2010

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