Sunday, July 10, 2016

Corralitas Drive: Silver Lake Fire
June 19, 2016

Photo: Diane Edwardson, June 19, 2016.  I was in the my yard with no view in this direction, but smelled fire.  When I ran up to the street, I saw a wall of dense brown and grey smoke and heard cracking and popping of fire.  I ran a couple hundred feet to the public staircase with some neighbors, and I could not see the houses on the other end of Corralitas Drive.

I knew we were in trouble.  Other neighbors were standing around watching; some were watering down their roofs and trees. I shouted "GO! Get your dogs, kids in the car and LEAVE NOW! That fire is coming this way fast and it's already moving toward the canyon - we won't be able to drive off the hill once it gets to Rosebud!"  Sirens were only just arriving in the neighborhood.  

On Corralitas, no one knew what was on fire because the wall of smoke was so dense. I could briefly see flames heading up the hill toward Lake View/Silver Ridge and it was already on the southbound side of the 2 Freeway in the view above.  Several neighbors took my lead and began knocking on doors to warn neighbors on our way back up to our homes to get our dogs and cats.  

It's no easy feat to run in heavy smoke, wearing flip flops, on one of the hottest days of the year while trying to call and text neighbors, without reading glasses, while having a massive asthma attack.  Yes, it's ok to laugh. In the meantime, half the neighborhood is calling and texting me while I'm knocking on doors, calling and texting key neighbors closest to the fire who could get the word out on Lake View and Riverside Place.  Cell phone lines were  jammed.   I grabbed my hard drive, inhaler, camera, wallet, water and put on closed-toe shoes and ran down the street with my dog on leash, continuing to knock on doors.  

Meanwhile, large 6 - 8" burning embers were flying up the hill and past either side of my home. 

In less than 10 minutes from that first photo, Rosebud was indeed closed.  The fire was literally exploding on the 2 Freeway median parkways. I arrived at the 2 Freeway as they closed Rosebud.
Photo: Diane Edwardson, June 19, 2016 after 7PM.  Compare this photo from the Corralitas Public Staircase, taken after the fire with the first photo.
Neighbors who did not hesitate, got off the hill that day. No one was injured.  We are so fortunate that the LAFD and their partner agencies were able to expend so many air resources and around 200 firefighters on the Silver Lake Fire.  The fire occurred at a time of day when the winds kick up like clockwork, every day.  Yet only a couple of homes were damaged by fire.  It could have been so much worse.

I suspect it will be along time before neighbors question why we have no parking on several area streets on LA City Fire Dept-called Red Flag Days.

We're reviewing the conditions before, during and after the June 19, 2016, Silver Lake Fire.  While it is a rehashing of old news, well put it in perspective of neighborhood issues, in addition to having it in our collective neighborhood history.