Tuesday, September 1, 2009

LA Is Burning

I woke up this morning to find my car covered in tiny white particles. At first I thought the tree overhead must have rained down flower petals, but then I realized it was ash. 
(Downtown skyline, August 30, 2009;
Don Barletti via the Los Angeles Times)

This fire is Vesuvius-like.
(Los Angeles Crest fire, August 30, 2009;
Al Seib via the Los Angeles Times)

I live about ten miles away from the nearest blaze and so am not in harm's way, but it's still very frightening. At last count, eight separate fires were burning out of control.
(Watching the Station fire, August 30th, 2009
Wally Skalij, Los Angeles Times)

Spirals of thick smoke are rising as high as 20,000 feet into the air and are creating their own wind patterns. 
(Smoke at dusk, August 31, 2009; Hollywood Hills visible on left of photo; Francine Orr via the Los Angeles Times)

Walls of flame have reached over 100 feet. Over 122,000 acres have burned so far, and experts predict at least another week before the fires can be contained. 
(Station fire, August 30, 2009
Genaro Molina for the Los Angeles Times)

Over 3700 firefighters have been mobilized; tragically, two lost their lives on Sunday.
(La Crescenta fire, August 31, 2009;
Wally Skalij via the Los Angeles Times)

For the first time ever, a Boeing 747 was used to drop fire retardant on the blaze.
(Jet plane near La Canada Flintridge,
Irfan Khan via the Los Angeles Times)

The largest fire is burning in the Angeles Crest National Forest. My son Luca knows this area intimately; his summer camp stayed overnight there every Thursday. Looking over the photos snapped by his camp counselor, I wonder how much of it is still there.
(Angeles Crest Forest before the fire, August, 2009;
photograph by Andreas Wenger)

(Luca cliff-jumping in Angeles Crest Forest, July, 2009;
photograph by Andreas Wenger)

My thoughts go out to all those affected by this fire and to the tireless firefighters who spare no efforts in always doing their heroic best.


Jane said...

Lisa - that is incredibly scary and I know what it is like having had terrible fires near Melbourne in February. Good luck to everyone xo

Simply Mel {Reverie} said...

My heart aches for the firefighters and the sweet little animals who are being chased from their habitats.

Hoping the blazes die soon, very soon!

pve design said...

A moment of silence.
I pray that the fires stop very soon, how scary for everything and everyone...
you are in our thoughts.

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

So frightening.
I'm saying a prayer for you all.

Angie Muresan said...

Horrible! I was thinking about you last night while watching the news. Glad to hear you're out of harm's way. My heart goes to all who've lost their homes.

Lisa Borgnes Giramonti said...

Jane, SImply Mel, PVE, Pamela Terry and Edward and Angie: Thank you for your thoughts! The only good news today is that it isn't as hot (80ish as opposed to 95) and I think that is helping a little bit... xx

Pimm's and Lemonade said...

Lisa, thank you for the news from "on the ground" in LA. I can't imagine how awful it must be for those affected by these awful fires but hope they find lots of comfort and love in this dreadful situation.

Oh yeah, and big time prayers for rain!


Amber from Brisbane, Australia said...

Your images are incredible! We had terrible fires near Melbourne, Victoria (where I lived before moving to Brisbane 6mths ago). In February this year 181 people lost their lives, and several towns were completely destroyed. I hope your fires are controlled soon. It looks so ferrocious...and there are so many people there. Take care. Stay indoors and be safe.

lady jicky said...

As Jane said , I live in Melbourne and we lost over 100 who died in our fires earlier this year.
My thoughts go out to you all.

Laura said...

Good lord, those images are really something! I had no idea of the scale...I experienced the Oakland Hills fire years ago but i don't recall it being nearly this massive. Thank goodness for those very brave fire fighters.

Unknown said...

We just had friends move outside L.A., it is so scary to think of the power of fire and to see so much destroyed.
My heart goes out to all the people fighting it, firefighters and all others too!


Good morning - I just had to stop by and leave you a note because you have the most wonderfully fabulous blog. I've loved reading your interesting posts, all very creative and great pictures too. What could be more perfect ? Thanks for sharing them all and best wishes...

Gigi Thibodeau said...

My heart and prayers are with everyone affected by these fires. I'm so glad that you are not in harm's way, but this must be so frightening for you. I was especially moved when I saw the photos from your son's summer camp. The one blessing is that nature has an awe-inspiring way of healing and regenerating. Best wishes to you and yours.

Rebecca said...

Pictures do speak so many words to my heart. Oh that the fires cease.

home before dark said...

With all that fiery destruction, knowing what ravages are being left behind, such a moment of pure, cooling joy of your son taking flight. Of course, it would have scared the livin' bejesus out of me to have watched him do that! Anyway, hope this is over soon. Every region seems to have nature's own brand of fury. Sorry that fire is what the gods have dealt California.

Helen James said...

It is hard to imagine what it must be like there, i am in Ireland where it has rained what seems like every day of the whole summer! The pictures are incredible, My heart goes out to the families of those firefighters and all you LA folk. May you get some of our rain! and fast!

Style Court said...

Lisa, I've been thinking about you and all of my West Coast friends everyday. Stay safe.


Maria Killam said...

So sad and scary! Thanks for posting this I haven't been watching the news.

JMW said...

I heard about the two firefighters on NPR and that the one was going to be a daddy in three weeks. It made my heart ache. I hope the fires are under control soon - will be thinking about you.

A Super Dilettante said...

Isn't it amazing how nature is more powerful and frightening and at the same time, destructive. Your photos just reminded of the English Romantic painter of the nineteenth century, John Martin's paintings.

Errant Aesthete said...

My small tribute here is intended for the LA firefighters and the organization they assemble through federal and state assistance to battle these endemic fires. To my mind, they are, without exception, the finest in the country.

My former home in Sierra Madre (which I understand is on alert as I write this) was repeatedly under siege during the many years I lived there and I came to regard these men and women with something approximating reverence. When hopelessness and despair gripped my family, friends and neighbors in our haste to evacuate the small, and much beloved, foothill community threatened by the fires raging just above in the heavily wooded hamlet we called home, the teams of volunteers and firefighters paid heed to the singular mission of protecting us and saving everything we owned. While I worry, as I have countless times before, I have learned to trust and believe in these angels of the ashes.

Suzy said...

How terrible. We have momentous fires like that in Australia every summer too...so I know how bad they can be. Keep safe.

Rocio said...

It is terrible indeed, more so when you learn that it was man made. Let us pray no more lives are lost. Our thoughts are with you in California.

Diane Dorrans Saeks said...


I am in Paris and am shocked and saddened by this news.
My thoughts are with you and all my dear friends in LA.
I must tell you that friends in Paris have been very aware of the fires--they are all great fans of LA--and were speaking with great concern about where precisely the fires are. I did explain that they are north of the city and HOllywood etc, and that it appeared that the wind was blowing to the north. I hope so.
On a book note: have some great new reading for you.
Fondest thoughts and many silent prayers for the firefighters, who I so admire, and everyone in Southern California. My thoughts are with you, DIANE

Angie Muresan said...

I hope all is well! I know you did say sporadic posts, but I for one miss you every day you don't write! Have a lovely weekend! :)

Unknown said...

These fires are scary and so destructive to nature. I wonder if your son will be able to return with his camp to Angeles Crest National Forest. I hope so. I also hope that you and your family remain safe. Thoughts of support and love for all of those harmed by the fires in any way. Hopes that the fires have ended or will end very soon.
~ A

erin said...


Gruvkitty said...

I didn't know about the 747 - what a photo! I've been thinking this was volcano-like in it's huge plumes, as well. Thanks for sharing. xoxo

Clarity said...

I hope you are safe and well. Please take care, I can sense the silent dread. Be well, Lisa.

Lisa Borgnes Giramonti said...

To everyone: Thank you so much for your sincere and heartfelt comments. Your words have touched me to the core, and it seems that your prayers have worked: The fire seems to be getting a bit more under control each day, and despite the massive damage to the forests and parklands, thankfully no more people have died.

To the readers from Australia, I remain distraught by stories of the devastation and human toll wrought by your recent massive fires, and my thoughts and prayers continue to go out to the families and friends of lost loved ones.

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Fred said...

This is something incredible, what a lucky man you was saved from the disaster, I had heard that safemeds was offering their support during that disaster.


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