Burbank (L.A.) wildfire check-in September 2, 2017 2:00 PM   Subscribe

Per LAist: 5,000 Acre La Tuna Canyon Fire Burns One Home, Evacuations Continue. It's now the largest fire (by acreage) in L.A. history. It's a heavily populated area, and I know a lot of MeFites live around there, so I thought it would be good to have a post for checking in and seeing if anyone needs any help. Be safe, and try to stay cool.

Updated 12:31 p.m.: The La Tuna Canyon Fire continues to burn upwards of 5,000 acres and has engulfed one home, according to the L.A. Times. Fire officials expect the fire to grow if the heat and erratic weather conditions continue. The fire is 10% contained and Los Angeles Fire Department Chief Ralph Terrazas said the last fire in the area was 30 years ago, which means "There is a lot of unburned fuel." Mandatory and voluntary evacuations have continued, with 730 homes evacuated across Burbank, Glendale, and the city of L.A., according to CBS.

A fire erupted near Burbank Friday afternoon and grew to 2,000 acres Friday evening, prompting the evacuation of residents of Brace Canyon Park. The fire has since grown to 5,000 acres and has been confirmed as the largest by acreage in Los Angeles City history, according to Mayor Eric Garcetti.
posted by Room 641-A to MetaFilter-Related at 2:00 PM (23 comments total)

I know the area - never lived there but drove through there to work between North Hollywood and Pasadena for ten years... the record-setting heat has been a serious issue the last few days, and the firefighters are probably sweltering when they're not even close to the flames. At my current residence in "Central Coastal California" (between San Luis Obispo and Pismo Beach, a few miles from the shore), we've had unprecedented heat; 110F. But the temp started dropping just after noon (and it's usually the hottest about 2PM) so something's broken... I just hope it isn't the thermometers at the weather stations. And if you've seen where I'm living now, you'd know that the words "brush fire" always make me look out the window at the hills behind the property.
posted by oneswellfoop at 2:56 PM on September 2, 2017

I am in the SFV so it's not cool but it seems like the worst of the smoke is not going to be coming this direction, and our A/C works, so if anybody needs to get evacuate or just get out of the smoke, MeMail me or DM me on Twitter (profile). It'll be complicated, but we can figure out a way to take pets if necessary. (My dogs are not even friendly to each other, but we've got a couple bedrooms and a utility room we can employ for emergency quarters.)
posted by Lyn Never at 3:00 PM on September 2, 2017

One of my favorite mountain biking trails is ash and smoke now. This will also probably put a big damper on a new trail project that was just gearing up. The plan was to do a single-track loop around the entire Verdugos, following the contour of the range and crossing 3 or 4 different municipalities & land managers. I imagine this fire puts a huge damper on those plans.

FWIW the Station Fire destroyed much more wilderness and the trail network that traversed it was much more extensive. Restoration of the damage it caused is nearing completion 8 years later, so since the La Tuna Canyon Fire is relatively smaller I expect the restoration to take much less time.
posted by carsonb at 3:24 PM on September 2, 2017 [2 favorites]

On the one hand, death to all that poison oak!

On the other hand, there's going to be plenty of Poodle Dog Bush to take it's place.
posted by carsonb at 3:27 PM on September 2, 2017 [2 favorites]

I took lessons at the LA children's riding center( the owner hasn't responded to a FB ? asking how things are)and the Tuna Canyon concentration camp was on the other side of the hill.
posted by brujita at 3:51 PM on September 2, 2017

We're inundated in smoke but no evacuations. The flames are plenty visible though. Last night a piece of ash floated down that was the size of a bicycle tire. Crazy, but I grew up in the valley and this definitely ain't my first fire. When I'm watering down the roof, it's time to start worrying. Until then, windows and doors remain closed and we stay hydrated.
posted by Sophie1 at 5:07 PM on September 2, 2017

I was up in Van Nuys this morning and the smoke was clearly visible to the east. We watched the PBY Catalina fire bombers laboring out of KVNY, fully loaded. I hope the water drops were able to help. I'm down on the coast and in absolutely no danger, but I hope everyone stays safe out there.
posted by Alterscape at 8:01 PM on September 2, 2017

Someone on Reddit posted that they saw several horse trailers going up the road where the stables are.
posted by brujita at 8:23 PM on September 2, 2017

I first became aware of the fire when I went for a run last night. The red glow over the hill looked like the world was ending. The most recent news report I've seen says they've only got the situation 10% under control. I'm miles away and safe. Well, my lungs might be at risk. Air quality seemed normal last night, but shittier than usual when I ran a couple hours ago.
posted by roger ackroyd at 10:32 PM on September 2, 2017

We used to hike around there all the time. The Verdugos are beautiful mountains. I'm sorry to hear that they're burning, and I'm sorry to hear that people's houses are threatened. I'm especially worried about air quality for people in the area; that's going to affect a lot more people than the fire will.

carsonb, yeah, people always laugh when I mention poodle dog bush, until I explain what it can do to you. Occasionally we'd be hiking in the Angeles and we'd come across huge areas of burned forest that were nothing but poodle dog bush. They'd have this weird sickly smell to them. We'd usually just turn around and head back the way we came; not worth it. Glad to hear the areas affected by the Station Fire are still recovering. Someday I hope we get a chance to visit the Angeles again and see all the places that were still closed off when we lived down there.
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 2:53 AM on September 3, 2017

Everything is covered in ash and our terrible perfect above ground pool is too warm and we killed our keg yesterday, but we haven't been evacuated from north central Glendale yet so Bloody Mary's and throwing a block of ice in the pool will be happening soon. We can make space if you're evacuated and can handle being around 4 dogs.
posted by Uncle at 9:00 AM on September 3, 2017

I was at the Hansen Dam Command Center yesterday and am about to head back out today as part of the local CERT battalion of volunteers. I got picked by the center's captain to ride along with him for a food and hydration drop at the front lines. It was eerie to see the hillsides where they'd beaten back the fire all black and still smoking. Felt like being at the gates of Mordor.
Anyhow, those firefighters are amazing out in this insane heat with all their heavy gear on. I was pouring sweat even just standing around. These guys looked more tired than thirsty but, man, do they move with purpose and speed. I'm pretty good with getting things done fast and efficiently but I could barely keep up.
A bunch of my colleagues and friends have houses up there and had to evacuate. Luckily most of them seem OK.
posted by Hairy Lobster at 10:09 AM on September 3, 2017 [6 favorites]

Thank you so much for volunteering, Hairy Lobster! I was looking at the Verdugos from the Windsor parking lot (near JPL) this morning and saw the retardant lines along Verdugo Mtwy between Hostetter and Beaudry. They lined up with the lines on this map, which also shows a retardant barrier on the southern edge between DeBell golf course and the Brand fire road. That map also looks like a back burn was set along that line, which would basically be conceding all of Wildwood Canyon Park to the fire.
posted by carsonb at 3:47 PM on September 3, 2017 [2 favorites]

I'm puzzled about the name. I remember only Las Tunas - the plural of the edible cactus fruits. Is that another place? Are La Tuna and Las Tunas separate places?
posted by X4ster at 6:48 PM on September 3, 2017

Las Tunas is in Malbu, west of Topanga.
posted by Room 641-A at 6:57 PM on September 3, 2017

The horses are safe, but the buildings are lost.
posted by brujita at 8:20 PM on September 3, 2017

Just a note: They are NOT in fact converting old Catalinas to water bombers -- my ignorance was showing. CAL Fire operates Candair 215s. Saw more of them flying this morning.

Sad to hear how much is being lost to this thing. :(
posted by Alterscape at 9:54 PM on September 3, 2017

I'm further southeast but my coworkers live near it, and I was just there a weekend ago. Even though they've assured me they're fine, I have lived through too many fires to feel 100% calm about anything right now. For some godforsaken reason my brain is always like, "Let's go TOWARDS the natural disaster so we can see if it's real" to which I'm like, "why are you like this, what happened during the 1994 Northridge earthquake and all the fires in San Diego and that weird flood you got stuck in once but can't remember where that makes you have this urge" and yet here we are.

If any of you need anything though please do reach out. I don't know how much of a help I'll be but I'm here.
posted by Hermione Granger at 12:37 AM on September 4, 2017

Here's the latest update with some hopefully good news, from ABC7:

La Tuna Fire progress 'looking much better' after charring 7,000 acres
All evacuation orders were lifted Sunday for residents in Sunland-Tujunga, Burbank and Glendale after the large fire moved away from the areas. A stretch of the 210 Freeway was also back open after being closed for several days due to the fire.

Scattered rain continued through Monday morning and more afternoon thunderstorms were expected later in the day.

Sgt. Derek Green of the Burbank Police Department said the fire in the Burbank hillside laid down significantly and "things are looking much better."
posted by Room 641-A at 8:19 AM on September 4, 2017

Heh. The reporter in the video in the story I linked to called the rain 'an aerial water drop.'
posted by Room 641-A at 8:22 AM on September 4, 2017

I'm in Ventura, the closest place to escape the heat. It's always 10-20 degrees cooler here and mefites are most welcome. HMU on social media.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 11:52 AM on September 4, 2017

We're thankfully in a pretty built up area of Burbank, so we aren't close enough to the mountains to have real problems, but my husband did get an air purifier so that the smoke wouldn't be an irritant. The brief rains yesterday do seem to have made a dent, and last I heard, the fire was 30% contained. The peaks near us were completely pink from all the firefighting foam. I'm very impressed that they've only lost a few structures amidst all the flames; most of the area hadn't burned for a decade or so, and I had expected far more destruction.
posted by tautological at 1:50 PM on September 4, 2017

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