After The Fire Is Before The Fire…

Posted on August 15th, 2007, by Petra

…this iron rule was brought back to mind sharply yesterday when once again a fire broke out in Griffith Park, near the Observatory. Thanks to the firefighters, who immediately set to work to battle the fire on the ground and with water from helicopters the fire was contained rather swiftly and the damage was minor, compared to the huge fire in May.

Even though they were in no immediate danger, all visitors at the Observatory (approx. 700) where evacuated and bussed to safety. It might even be that the odd tourist will forever entertain others at home with the story of  “how I escaped the raging fires in Los Angeles.”

But one should not joke about the current situation. The park, Los Angeles, the county, it is dry, dry, dry everywhere. So the danger of more fires is imminent and not always is this danger battled as swiftly as yesterday. None of us will forget the big fire in May – 820 acre (3.31 square kilometer) of Griffith Park were scorched, with the fires even threatening private residences, the Zoo, the Observatory and the Greek Theater.Thanks to the relentless work of the firefighters (not only from Los Angeles) none of these became a victim of the flames in the end, but it is heartbreaking to see large areas of the park with nothing left but ashes on the ground. Even today one can sniff the acrid smell in the air and the burned areas are still not open to the public.

One important lesson learned from all this is that it is imperative that residential areas surrounding the park have to be protected. The best way to do this is to clear a wide path between the brush areas and the houses, as can be seen in this photo:

Fire Griffith Park_Blog_1360.jpg

The hills on the left side show part of the burned down area, on the right side one can see houses and adjacent to them a wide strip cleared from all brush – that is the fire protection strip, newly cleared and kept in shipshape order, because everybody knows that the next fire of this hot and dry summer will come.

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