Santa Anita Canyon Fire

Updated Tuesday (4/29 @ 11:00)

The fire finally seems to be under control — no flames, smoke, or ashes were visible this morning. There were occasional fly-bys from a single LAFD helicopter, and a lot of the streets that were previously closed, had been opened. Most of the emergency personnel were stationed along Carter, and near Mountain Trail and Grandview.

Here’s the latest:

  • 1055 firefighters working on the fire
  • 150 homes still evacuated
  • fire is 57% contained — full containment by May 2nd

The best news (other than no homes were destroyed, and no major injuries), was that Bailey Canyon appears to have been spared! From what I can tell from my vantage point is that the fire was contained on the western ridge along the canyon, directly adjacent to the east of Bailey. You can see the fire retardant along the spine just south-southwest of Jones Peak, which prevent the fire from creeping down into Bailey.

Our local Starbucks got a lot of donations from customers, and are giving fire/police/medical personnel free food/drinks. The Buccaneer (or the Buc, as the locals call refer to the neighborhood watering hole) was also showing their appreciation by providing free drinks (only soda though).


Thanks to the hundreds of emergency personnel who helped fight this fire and keep it from spreading along the steep and rugged terrain. Let’s hope that it’ll be 100% contained soon.

Updated Monday (4/28 @ 20:00)


Found these great maps at the Incident Response Website.  After studying it briefly, the fire seems to have gone as far as First Water along the Wilson Trail, so well before the heliport.  The fire’s origin was along Santa Anita on the way up to Chantry, at the second sharp switchback where they were doing construction after the large washout 2 years ago — those familiar with the street, it’s when the road turns sharply to the south-southeast (to your right).  Jones Peak, designated by an ‘X’ on the map at elevation 3375′ is the northern-most point of the fire.  The southern hillside, beginning directly south of Jones Peak, and spanning all the way east to Chantry has been scorched.  I believe Bailey Canyon has been spared (thank goodness!) — I could not see the area after I came back home after work, but will head out in the morning to see the extent of the damage.  Based on the map, and what I could see from the street, I believe the fire was confined to the eastern ridge along the canyon.

The evacuation has been lifted for all residents east of Baldwin, but is still in effect for those living north of Carter and Fairview between Michillinda and Baldwin.  There are rumors that the northeastern part of Pasadena will soon be evacuated as well — this will be the area at the end of Michillinda.  I drove up there earlier this evening, and it didn’t seem like there was much activity going on, since I was able to drive right up there without any problem.

Even though the flames are no longer visible, the danger is far from over, since it was a similar situation last night too, before the fire re-ignited in the middle of the night.

Photos from earlier today.

Cimg5294Neighborhood at the end of Baldwin.

Cimg5326Baldwin looking north.

Cimg5327Taken from St Rita’s.

Cimg5334Jones Peak from the field at the monastery.

Updated Monday (4/28 @ 14:00)

The fire apparently moved farther west, since the evacuation area has now expanded all the way to Michillinda, along with all areas north of Carter between Bailey Canyon and Mountain Trail.  Also, the stretch above Fairview between Michillinda and Grove have been evacuated — these are the southernmost homes adjacent to the monastery at the end of Sunnyside Avenue.  I was just there this morning, taking photos from the field.  I would imagine at this point that Bailey Canyon has fallen victim — that was my favorite area.  Very sad.  😦

Updated Monday (4/28 @ 10:30)

I just wanted to thank everyone who called or e-mailed to check up on me.  My house is directly south of the fire — about a mile away, but far enough that I’m not in danger of having to evacuate.

  • Fire dropped down from 30% contained to 23%.
  • Ground crews increased to 580 from 400
  • 538 acres charred
  • Schools all canceled

Sierra Madre News Net and The Foothill Cities Blog have very good updates.

Updated Monday (4/28 @ 7:30)

I woke up to a thick smell of smoke, which indicated to me that the fire had resumed overnight, but did not know the extent of it or its location.  My original intent this morning was to do a short run around my neighborhood like I usually do, but that quickly changed after having gone only a few yards from my house — too much smoke.  I went up Baldwin with my camera, and immediately saw that the flames had jumped the ridge line they were so good at protecting yesterday, and was down close to the homes again.  From what I could see, the entire southern slope from Santa Anita Cyn west of the Wilson Trail, all the way to the eastern ridge of Bailey Canyon is burning, or will be soon.  All homes adjacent to the foothills north of Carter, between Mountain Trail and Oak Crest are in danger.  Disturbingly absent, were the aircraft and fire engines which were so prevalent over the weekend.  I’ve yet to see/hear any helicopters or airplanes.

I’ll have photos uploaded soon.

Updated Sunday (4/27 @ 19:56)

Night has fallen, and the town is now eerily quiet — the buzz of helicopters overhead, media crew, and emergency personnel has subsided. Most notably, the flames are not visible like it was last night — seen from as far as Hollywood, over 20 miles away. Although the fire is no longer in view, the aftermath is evident — the smell of smoke lingers in the air, and a light dusting of ashes coats the tops of parked cars. The part of the hillside that fell victim to this tragedy looks like a mountaintop most commonly seen at over 12,000′ — ones above treeline, where there is no vegetation. It has been reported that the fire is now 30% contained, and without any wind to fan the flames, there may be an end in sight. Also, ground crews were spotted earlier along the ridge line, putting out hotspots by hand. Residents who were evacuated were rumored to be able to return to their homes in the morning. Emergency personnel are staging at Sierra Vista park, and there are two evacuation centers designated for this disaster, one of which is at the Hart Park House.

More info: City of Sierra Madre

Sunday (4/27 @ ~14:00)

The constant drone of aircraft started late yesterday afternoon, and has continued into today, with only a slight pause during the night  time.  The fire looked liked it started west of Chantry Flat, in an area where there are no trails from what I can tell.  Those familiar with the AC100 will know that it’s the mile 75 aid station.  I thought they would have it contained within that area, but by this morning, it had jumped the canyon, and slowly inched its way west.  I would imagine that Mt Wilson trail had been affected, and as a result, I expect the big race next month will be canceled.  The fire reached the top of Jones Peak, but as of now, does not look like it has continued into Bailey Canyon, but hard to tell what’s going on behind the ridge north of the peak.

Cimg5267Interestingly enough, we were not too far from this area doing the first AC100 trailwork along Wintercreek from the toll road, all the way down to Hoegees, which was only a couple miles from the fire.  We were already done and off the mountain when it started, so we luckily missed it.

As of 14:20 Sunday:

  • 10% contained; 4-5 days until fully contained
  • 550 homes under mandatory evacuation (over 1000 residents)400 acres burned
  • 400 firefighters
  • 4 fixed wing aircrafts, and 4 water drop helicopters
  • streets closed along Grandview between Mountain Trail and Santa Anita
  • Bailey Cyn, Chantry Flat closed
  • last fire burned 40 years ago
  • temperature 102
  • 50 wedding-goers were airlifted from Sturtevant Camp

Additional info:

Cimg5295Fire yesterday still east of the canyon.

Cimg5296Ashes on my car this morning.

Cimg5298Smoke darkens morning sky.

Cimg5299Fire jumps canyon and heads up to Jones Peak.

Cimg5315Almost at the top of Jones Peak.

Cimg5318Helicopter just east of Jones Peak.

Cimg5319Drops along ridge line south of Jones Peak.

Cimg5322Fixed wing fire-retardant drop along same ridge line.

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