Friday, August 27, 2010

The Station Fire, One Year Later

It's now been a year since the start of the Station Fire, the devastating blaze that charred a whopping 160,000 acres of the Angeles National Forest north of La CaƱada Flintridge.

Not only did the fire rage on for two months -- finally being contained in mid-October -- but it also led to the deaths of two firefighters, and destroyed more than 80 homes.

It's still painful to think that the forest north of L.A. won't again be like we knew it, at least in our lifetime. Franklin Avenue visited the devastation back in April (read about it here) and it was heartbreaking.

As the Glendale News-Press reports, there's still plenty of anger over the county's and the forest service's reaction to the blaze, and the recovery process since then.

It's now well known that the county and forest service had an opportunity in the first day to call out helicopters and attack the fire with water before it got out of control. They didn't. And the fire, well, got out of control in ways that defy explanation.

The paper writes:

For some residents who lost their homes and face a long and complicated rebuilding process, there is a deep sense of betrayal. And among county, state and federal representatives, there is frustration and concern about a lack of transparency and reform.

"It has been a year and still no reform," said Tony Bell, spokesman for Los Angeles County Supervisor Mike Antonovich. "We are smack dab in the middle of fire season again, and still no reform."

Antonovich was one of the first in a chorus of voices, including Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank), questioning the U.S. Forest Service's handling of the Station fire, particularly the use, or the failure to use, aerial water drops during the initial days of the blaze.

The rains earlier this year at least brought back a bit of green to the charred mountains. But it's going to take years to nurse the forest back to health.

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