Over the past week, a delayed fire season has hit the Southland with a vengeance! Except for the Palos Verdes fire, all current blazes are continuing to wreak havoc on firefighters, property and air quality. My eyes are burning as I write this piece. Mandatory evacuations are in order for many areas, and some residents near La Cañada are now trapped.
Tragically, firefighters Arnaldo Quinones, 35, of Palmdale and Tedmund Hall, 47, of San Bernardino were killed while overseeing workers who were clearing brush at a Department of Corrections, inmate campsite, and drove off the side of a treacherous road in the Mt. Gleason area, south of Acton, around 2:30 p.m., Sunday. We salute these brave souls, along with the thousands of firefighters across California who continue to diligently battle the havoc.
Hand crews attempted to intervene Sunday by clearing brush by Mt. Wilson, the historic observatory and critical transmission towers for local television and radio stations. That structure and outlying areas are still in danger of being engulfed. The radius of the largest fire is spreading westward towards Tujunga, Sunland, Sylmar and Santa Clarita. Current estimates for property damage are upwards of $7.7 million on top of the millions of dollars it costs to combat these blazes.