Mount Placid

The view from Mt. Wilson Towercam, facing east (UCLA)
The view from Mt. Wilson Towercam, facing east (UCLA)

So, the observatory Towercam is back online, and the summit of Mount Wilson is looking decidedly un-charred and… peaceful. This means the fire crews did an outstanding job of removing vegetation and the aerial water attack obviously paid off. The Hooker Telescope dome is also looking fine.

But it’s the scene to the east of Mt. Wilson (the Towercam has been turned around), showing fires burning in the valley and in the hills (the nearest fires still burn in the West Fork of the San Gabriel River Canyon near Shortcut Saddle), that reminds us that the fire fight is far from over, and the fire men and women are putting their lives on the line day and night.

But for now, the historic Mt. Wilson Observatory is safe, and the lesser-known Stony Ridge Observatory is apparently intact…

Wildfire? Volcano? Warzone? Hell? All of the above?


I think this timelapse video pretty much puts the Station Fire into perspective. The fire has so far destroyed over 120,000 acres of land, gutted dozens of homes and taken the lives of two fire fighters. Although it would appear fire crews are slowly getting a handle on the blaze (it was around 20% contained at time of writing), should there be a change in weather, the fires could flare up once more, but there are hopes that humidity should continue to rise through the night.

Also, it would appear the earlier fires spotted on the summit of Mount Wilson were primarily controlled backfires (i.e. small fires started deliberately by the fire service to burn off brush, thereby removing fuel for an uncontrolled fire). Now, an airborne assault has begun, water and fire retardant being dropped to slow the advance of the Station Fire around the mountain leading to the observatory. And now, the word is that fire crews seem to be winning the fight to save the Mount Wilson Observatory (thank you @palomarskies for the update!).

So, for now, I’ll leave you with this phenomenal HD timelapse video of the Station Fire created by willieworks. The view is of the mountains to the north of LA, from Mulholland Drive, above Universal Studios. It’s a scene that really does belong in the movies. What a sight.