Johnny Kobra

This latest fire in Griffith Park is blazing out of control! It's Tuesday night about 10 p.m. here in L.A. as I write this and it doesn't look good. The base camp that the fire department set up in the park is surrounded by fire! Who knows what is going to happen? I've never seen anything like this in my life! The photo above was taken by one Johnny Kobra, just one of the local Angelenos who have submitted their own photos to the L.A. Times website (which has astounding photos of their own -- see below.)

Kobra's pic was taken on Vermont Avenue, where I was earlier this evening dropping some mail off at the post office. The flames were 60-70 feet high and formed an apocalyptic backdrop to the palm trees and houses in the hills of Los Feliz. I couldn't stop staring and kept driving to get better views. Everyone was out on the street staring, pointing, taking pictures. The helicopters were whizzing back and forth from the Silver Lake reservoir where they were picking up water to drop on the flames creeping over the hillside at breakneck speed.

LA Fire

As I made my way down to Sunset Boulevard I couldn't stop looking in my rearview mirror at the flames. There is something frighteningly hypnotic about them. Heading east I caught an even better view of the surreally scary landscape as I glanced north up Hillhurst Avenue. Damn, I didn't bring my camera! So I headed home and grabbed it and joined my neighbors on a spot on our hill where we could see it all. The site was UNREAL! Like some special effect on a History Channel program about Nero watching Rome burn. Or a National Geographic special on Hawaiian volcano lava flows.

Or a bad Irwin Allen disaster film. Or Final Impact or whatever that movie was where Bill Pullman played the President (wait, was that Independance Day? I think that actually was the last crap Hollywood blockbuster I paid to see in a theater). No matter, any disaster flick will do. We were all bound together as an audience, standing and staring like it was movie. But it's not a movie for the people whose houses are in the path of that firestorm. And to think this kind of fire -- during this kind of dry, absurdly hot weather -- could happen in any of our neighborhoods (although obviously more so to the 'hoods near all the brush!), what would I take? The cats, the art, the irreplacable family photos... OMG! What would YOU grab first if you were told you had to leave your house immediately?

One good thing about all this -- I met some neighbors I never knew I had.

LA Fires

Now I hear they've evacuated some people from their homes in Los Feliz. I hope to God it doesn't get to the newly renovated Observatory or the L.A. Zoo! Oh MY GOD! What about the zoo animals??? And what about all the poor woodland creatures that are being incinerated? One news reporter on the radio described seeing a panicked rat run out of the brush and under his car, desperate to escape the flames. Poor thing.

It is really scary here. This whole scene -- everyone wandering around, the sirens wailing, the constant buzz of the helicopters -- reminds me of the '92 riots.

And to think we were just hiking up on those very trails in the park two days ago, remarking on how dry everything was and how lucky we were to have "our" side of the park spared from the fire that burned near the Cahuenga Pass just about a month ago. You just never know when disaster will strike. (This reminds me that I really don't want to be here when that long overdue earthquake hits!)

Hopefully by the morning all this will be under control. Please God?

LA Fires
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