Sunday, August 30, 2009

Fire/Air Quality Update: We're Choking Here in Glendale

See where it's shaded to designate "VERY UNHEALTHY" air? Yep, we live right at the edge of that.

After three days of watching the flames in the mountains above La Canada-Flintridge from our front window, the smoke has now gotten so bad that we've got virtually no visibility anymore here in Glendale. The sky is an eerie orange -- with the sun one big red blob. So this is what the apocalypse will look like.

The smoke is not only thick, but the outdoors smell like one big campfire -- and you can immediately feel it in the back of your neck. Pieces of ash also float through the air, as you try hard not to breathe while racing to the car. So we're indoors bound for now here at Franklin Avenue HQ.

Unfortunately, according to the L.A. Times, that's because the winds switched direction overnight -- and started sending the smoke right toward residential areas.

Meaning, well, us.

More from the paper:

The fire marched north overnight through remote mountain ridges toward Acton. The U.S. Forest Service was sending firefighters into those areas, which have become the northern edge of the blaze. Mandatory evacuations were in effect in La CaƱada Flintridge, Pasadena, La Crescenta, Altadena, Glendale and Big Tujunga Canyon.

Today is supposed to be the last day of a five-day heat wave that has brought triple-digit temperatures along the fire lines. Forecasters said temperatures will drop a few degrees today and that lower temperatures, morning clouds and more humidity are on tap for the next few days.

But even with no winds in the forecast, firefighters said the conditions remain highly dangerous.

Forest Service officials said three civilians were burned and airlifted from rural Big Tujunga Canyon, where at least three to five homes were destroyed. One fire official, after surveying the canyon, estimated that the toll may be much worse.

According to KNX radio, Glendale Unified has already canceled what was planned to be the first day of school Monday.

The view from our front door yesterday, when the smoke was thankfully not heading in our direction. Today we're not so lucky.

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