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Friday, 4 September 2009

2009 Los Angeles Wildfires Concern Mount Wilson Observatory....

2009 Los Angeles Wildfires Concern Mount Wilson Observatory Astronomer

2009 Los Angeles Wildfires Concern Mount Wilson Observatory

Los Angeles -- The recent wildfire of the Los Angeles area that started on Wednesday, August 26, has an effect on many people who live in this area. Looking out of a window does not have the same summer look as it has had during the last few months.

The usual beautiful blue sky is not there to be seen. Replacing this sky is a smoky gray haze mixed with a partly white and blue overcast. This is to be seen miles and miles in almost every direction of the city of Los
2009 Los Angeles Wildfires Concern Mount Wilson Observatory Astronomer

There were complaints of ashes in yards, strong odor of smoke inside houses, and some people thought they were catching a cold due to the unclear air all around them. Many people, against their will, were forced to evacuate. They did not want to leave their homes. The good news has been that the weather is very favorable. Had it been windy, there would have been disaster.

This spreading fire not only disturbed the people who were in direct contact with this disaster, but it was greatly disturbing to others as well.

Luca Bertello, an assistant astronomy researcher at UCLA, is now relieved when he heard of the news on September 1 that the UCLA 150-foot solar tower at the Mount Wilson Observatory had not undergone any damages.

It is understandable why Bertello and others who are involved in a research project were so disturbed when they feared the fire would come to this tower. They have been taking daily magnetic field measurements of the sun's surface since 1970.

Staff observers who live at the observatory complex were evacuated a few days ago. Fire fighters were also taken off the top of the mountain as the fie approached the site. Aircraft dropped fire retardant over the entire site. It was at this time when Bertello felt that the risk was high.

He recently said that because the fire is now under control, the outlook looks more promising.

"The fire crews did a terrific job controlling it," he said.

A webcam mounted on top of the tower has been taking photos that appear on a website every two minutes. Photos from the webcam have been used by the news media to get an aerial view of the smoke in the surrounding area and to follow the progression of the fire.

California Firefighters Save Observatory as Wildfire Continues to Burn

Fire burns close to blackened hills in the Angeles National Forest on the outskirts of Los Angeles, California on Sept. 2, 2009. Fire burns close to blackened hills in the Angeles National Forest on the outskirts of Los Angeles, California on Sept. 2, 2009.

Firefighters in the U.S. western state of California have successfully pushed back a wildfire threatening a historic observatory north of Los Angeles. Officials said Thursday a firefighting force atop Mount Wilson managed to keep the flames from reaching the observatory and critical communication towers on the mountain.

The wildfire near Los Angeles has burned nearly 57,000 hectares of land, making it the largest wildfire in Los Angeles county's history.

By Thursday, safety officials had lifted all evacuation orders for residential areas, allowing people to return to their homes. Officials say the fire, which has burned for more than a week, is now 28 percent contained.

Investigators are continuing to investigate the cause of the fire. Deputy incident commander Carlton Joseph said Wednesday investigators believe the fire was caused by humans. Carlton said investigators are still trying to determine if the blaze was started on purpose or by accident. 

The fire destroyed more than 60 homes in the area, forced thousands of people to evacuate, and led to the death of two firefighters. The men died Sunday when their truck rolled off a step embankment. 

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger visited firefighters at a Los Angeles base camp Wednesday. The governor said of the eight wildfires currently burning across the state of California, three have been contained.

Earlier this week, fire commander Mike Dietrich said it could take another two weeks to contain the fire.

Good Clear Skies
Colin James Watling
Astronomer and head of the Comet section for LYRA (Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth Regional Astronomers) also head of K.A.G (Kessingland Astronomy Group) and Navigator of the Stars (Fieldwork)

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