Station Fire (western edge) 09-02-09 approx 3:30 pm. Photo: Meryl Ann Butler
This view toward the northeast shows the westernmost edge of the Station Fire in Sunland, CA, at about 3:30 pm on Sept. 2.
The area shown in this photo is approximately 20 miles from the eastern edge of the fire area.
This portion of the Angeles National Forest hasn't burned since 1924, providing plenty of fuel for this fire.
By Tuesday the fire had covered nearly 200 square miles.
Two firefighters have lost their lives.
While the fire is still uncontained in the east, most of the evacuees in other areas have been allowed to return.
A sudden and unexpected change in weather conditions early Tuesday morning aided firefighters in containment, which hit 28% by Wednesday.
Quotes from Fox 11 KTTV (Tuesday morning Sept 1):
"Temperature is down, humidity is up, that's making a big difference"
(Last night we got some) "moisture that wasn't expected," (we had a good) "humidity recovery last night with showers here and there!"
"Yesterday in the weather department the forecast expected some little influx of humidity"we had no idea at this time yesterday that we were going to get this much moisture" "."a tremendous amount"" "it's essentially 'partly to mostly cloudy!"
"we EVEN HAD sprinkles and very brief light showers ""
"that moisture is not going to put the fire out but it cools the atmosphere and moistens it up ""
"I checked the remote weather station in the fire zone in Little Tujunga Canyon at 9 am yesterday, and the temperature was close to 90 degrees, and the humidity had dropped to single digits. This morning, by comparison, the temperature was in the upper 70's, and humidity value was in the mid- to high 30's.
"This is a BIG TIME recovery that has helped firefighters tremendously"
About 4,700 firefighters are battling the blaze. The sound of helicopters and other aircraft can be heard throughout the day.
Hooker telescope at Mt. Wilson Observatory. Photo:wiki
Atop Mt. Wilson, the historic 105-year-old Mt. Wilson observatory, with its 100-inch Hooker telescope, and the hundreds of millions of dollars worth of communications towers, were directly in the path of the advancing flames. According to wikipedia, this is the telescope that Edwin Hubble used to measure galaxy redshifts and discover the general expansion of the universe.
The flames got very close, and at times it did not seem that the valuable structures on Mt. Wilson would be saved. However, heroic efforts by firefighters have protected the site so far, and it seems to be out of imminent danger.