Smoke from the Station Fire as seen from Hollywood
Wildfires continued to blaze across Southern California for the first part of the weekend. Triple digit heat and low humidity are fanning the flames which have so far consumed almost 10,000 acres across the region. To help deal with the expanding crisis, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger recently declared a state of emergency.
The Station Fire, the largest of the major fires currently burning, began along Angeles Crest Highway on Wednesday afternoon and has already scorched approximately 7,000 acres.
Evacuation orders were recently extended from La Canada/Flintridge to include part of Altadena, most notably the Meadows neighborhood. This brings the total number of evacuated homes to over 2,000; over 50 other structures are also in jeopardy.
With only 5% of the total Station Fire contained, hundreds of fire fighters are working against the flames to prevent them from spreading further. The main focus is along the fire's southern edge where homes and other buildings butt up against the Angeles National Forest, making them susceptible to the expanding blaze.
Popular outdoor recreation spots and hiking trails in the Big Tujunga area are currently at risk as the western edge of the fire heads that direction. Firefighters are also working hard to prevent a northern leg of the fire from damaging infrastructure at the Mt Wilson Observatory.
While the Station Fire spewed up an ominous column of smoke visible across the LA basin, major progress appears to have taken place in other area fires.
The Morris Fire, also in Angeles National Forest, is currently 85% contained. The Rolling hills fire which forced numerous evacuations in Palos Verdes is now closer to full containment as well.
While physical fires are threatening homes and forests, air quality across the entire Los Angeles region plummeted to dangerous levels raising health risks for people across the county. Residents for most parts of Los Angeles are encouraged to limit their time outdoors to reduce the possible side affects of inhaling higher levels of pollutants than normal.
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