Summer of 2002
became known as the Curve
about noon on September 1. This image (courtesy of the Mt.
Wilson cam) was taken about seven hours after its start. The smoke
and heat from the fire has created
its own thunderhead above. Although the Stony Ridge and Mt. Wilson
Observatories were never in any danger, this event rained ash down on
both sites for about 2 weeks. About 2 weeks later, a second, larger
fire (the Williams
Fire) started in about the same area and burned for about a month.
Due to an extremely dry year (only 4 inches of rain in the last year),
these two fires closed the entire Angeles National Forest from September
to November, an unprecedented move by the U.S. Forest Service. The costs
to tax payers was tens of millions of dollars. Now that we have entered
an "El Niño" weather pattern, heavy rains will cause
further damage from mudslides and erosion in the burn area this winter.
Be careful out there people!