Station Fire 3:30 pm 8-29-09. Photo Meryl Ann Butler. (Center)
Authorities have concluded that the largest forest fire in Los Angeles Country history was an act of arson.
The Station Fire burned more than half of the Angeles National Forest.
Two firefighters were killed fighting the fire and the Los Angeles County Sheriff's department has initiated a homicide investigation, asking the public to call in with any clues or information.
The L.A. Times said, "As of 5 p.m. Thursday, the Station Fire had burned at least 147,418 acres and was about 38% contained," and noted that Station Fire incident Cmdr. Mike Dietrich said that fire lines around Mt. Wilson, and its historic observatory and communications towers, appeared to be holding.
Mt. Wilson Observatory, 1916.
According to LA Weekly, "The 105-year-old Mount Wilson Observatory, which today was called "the birthplace of the expanding Universe' by Discover Magazine online , seemed on the verge of destruction just three days ago, evacuated of all personnel on Monday and surrounded by 25 firefighters who then had to flee as flames edged toward the august facility."
L.A. Times' Tim Rutten noted on Wed. that, "The last time fire burned all the way through what's now the Angeles National Forest was in 1897, eight years before astronomer George Hale began work on the first phase of the Mt. Wilson Observatory. Dave Boucher, the L.A. County Fire Department's historian, and other local scholars of fire ecology believe that the Station blaze already has surpassed that conflagration in size." http://www.chara.gsu.edu/CHARA/Slides/Rutten.pdf
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California Fire Update: Station Fire 1:30 pm, Pacific Time 8-28-09 By Meryl Ann Butler
Los Angeles fire map: Mt. Wilson, Tujunga, Acton, Altadena, Pasadena, Sierra Madre http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-la-fire-map-html,0,7464337.htmlstory
Mt. Wilson Observatory Saved, Thanks to Firefighters: An Appreciation
http://blogs.laweekly.com/ladaily/environment/mt-wilson-observatory-saved-th/ Accessed Sept 3, 2009.
Mt. Wilson's famous, and besieged, observatory http://www.chara.gsu.edu/CHARA/Slides/Rutten.pdf Accessed Sept 3, 2009.
Station fire an act of arson, sheriff's officials say
http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-fire4-2009sep04,0,3921660.story Accessed Sept 3, 2009.
Official: Station Fire Was Arson
http://blogs.laweekly.com/ladaily/city-news/official-station-fire-was-arso/ Accessed Sept 3, 2009.