It is hard to watch the unfolding fires in Southern California. First, because it is always sad to see folks watching an approaching disaster that there is little they can do to stop.
But in this case, and I'm sure my sister Pam, will agree because we lived through this terror so many times as children living in La Crescenta in the foothills of Los Angeles.
The current fires are threatening areas of Altadena, Pasadena and La Canada (not to mention the Jet Propulsion Laboratory being in the mix) and could soon move into our old neighborhood on Briggs Terrace in La Crescenta.
As a young man in the 1950s I remember these fires, which seem to return every three years. It would take that long for the brush and grass to regrow after a previous fire and then the days would become thick with smoke and the nights bright with flames.
One time the fires got so close that our house was only two or three blocks out of the mandatory evacuation area and I remember seeing my stepfather on the roof of the house watering it down with a garden hose to extinguish the burning embers falling on it.
Some of our neighbors, who foolishly installed wooden shake roofs, were equally busy keeping their roofs wet.
Pray for those firefighters that they will remain safe. These fires move very quickly and can turn and trap firefighters in a moment.
As an aside that windy road at the north end of the map (Hwy 2) is Angles Crest Highway and our high school driver's training instructor (my math teacher as I recall) used to make us drive up there and learn how to negotiate the hairpin turns. On a date night there were great views of the City of Los Angeles after a movie and a dinner.
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