Fire erupts in Angeles National Forest above Azusa
The Madre Fire employs Super Scoopers
By Terry Miller
The huge plume of smoke could be seen for miles on a clear and warm Sept. evening Monday as guests were enjoying the annual Taste of Arcadia at the Los Angeles County Arboretum.
Many guests at the event – police officers and firefighters as well as this reporter, rushed to the scene near Highway 39. The traffic was bumper-to-bumper on the freeway, in part due to people looking at the fire and taking video with their iPhones while driving.
Evacuation orders were lifted by Tuesday morning at the Madre Fire, but firefighters are still battling a brush fire burning in the Angeles National Forest behind Azusa.
As of early Tuesday morning the blaze has burned 200 acres and was only 5 percent contained.
The fire was moving north-west over a ridge away from several homes and further into the forest. The blaze broke out around 6 p.m. Monday near San Gabriel Canyon Road and Sierra Madre Avenue. Los Angeles firefighters asked for the Canadian super-scoopers and choppers attack the fire.
The sun was rapidly setting as the super scoopers made several drops but eventually had to return to base due to nightfall and heavy smoke.
Unstable winds hampered firefighters initially but those died down about two hours after the blaze began.
Steep terrain was major hurdle, and helicopters dropped firefighters behind the blaze to cut lines and keep the flames from advancing too quickly according to early reports.
Helicopters made water drops until midnight, when it became too dark to fly.
Azusa Canyon and Highway 39 north of Foothill Boulevard remains closed traffic. No homes have been damaged and no one has been injured.
More than 400 fire personnel are on duty Tuesday battling the blaze. The cause of the blaze remains under investigation.
PHOTOS BY TERRY MILLER