Dry Summer of 2002

What later became known as the Curve Fire, started 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!

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