Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Station Fire

The consensus from yesterday's comments was that you guys wanted to see some images from the fire, so here we go. Let me start by saying that I've never photographed an event like this and it was kinda overwhelming. The fire, the smoke, the sounds, and the scale of it all weighed on me. I have an even greater respect for those who put their lives at risk to protect others and fight to overcome this amazing force of nature. The winds have been mercifully calm lately, but the heat has been oppressive. I can't imagine what it must be like to fight this fire when the ambient temperature is 100 plus degrees. In short, mad props to those men and women.

I went to see and photograph the Station Fire over two consecutive days. The first time I was by myself and the second day I took my two boys because they kept bugging me to see the fire. Of course we could see the smoke pretty well from our house, but they wanted to get closer. Kinda like their daddy. I took them to the place where I had spent most of the previous day and I couldn't believe what I saw. Overnight, the fire had roared down the canyon and turned everything into ash. I couldn't get an after picture because the police were there to move folks along. Ironically, this is the same area I visited about a month ago and took this image. It will be very interesting to revisit that area when it's safe to go.

This was the view right off the freeway in Sunland.


This is Big Tujunga Canyon on the first day. When we came back the second day this same view was just white ash.


To give you some perspective on the size of the smoke cloud, here's a closer shot with one of the water dropping planes for scale.


I couldn't get over how the smoke cloud looked like some slow motion nuclear explosion.


It really struck me how this orange plane stood out against the gray tones of the smoke.


From the second day, further down the same canyon. The helicopters were actively trying to save homes.


When the fire reached a home or other structure, the smoke would turn very dark.


This is closer to where the original fire started, east of Big Tujunga Canyon.


The firefighters were setting up in a staging area to be on hand to defend homes.


As and added bonus, I've put up a video of several helicpoters defending a house set on a small hill in the canyon.


Memphis MOJO said...

Amazing shots! Thank you for sharing. I can't decide which one I like best, and the movie is the lagniappe.

fxmixer said...

Thanks for the feedback Memphis! I had to look up lagniappe. ;)

SKELLER said...

very sobering pictures. I was amazed on our drive back Saturday how far North we could see the cloud of smoke. And from certain vantage points, we can even see it all the way down here in Orange County.

I keep praying for cooler weather, higher humidity. Firefighters work their butts off in SoCal Fall every. single. year.