Friday, June 24, 2016

Clear the Brush!

Bel Air Fire, Stone Canyon Road, 1961. Photo by Jon Woods for the Valley Times.

It has been hot, hot, hot in Los Angeles for the past week. Driving to work this morning (from east to west), as soon as I crossed Sepulveda Blvd., there was a mist on my window. What? Light rain? It only lasted a few seconds, but at least this small bit of dampness will help with all the dry brush on our golden hills! 
Fire season has come early to Southern California. We are surrounded by fires in the San Gabriel Valley and nearby Santa Barbara. We've had a very dry year and there will be more fires to come, I'm sure.
One of the worst fires in my memory was the Bel Air fire of November, 1961. The Santa Ana winds were blowing, fanning the flames. So many homes were lost. My Aunt and Uncle owned a home in Bel Air and I remember my Uncle telling me that he was up on the roof with the home's Caretaker, both wielding garden houses to wet down the wood shingle roof and keep the sparks from igniting. It worked! Marvin and Louis save the house when so many structures all around them were damaged.
LAFD, near the Bel Air Fire, 1961. Photo by Alan Hyde for The Valley Times

Click HERE to see KTLA-TV news coverage of the Bel Air fire.
As a direct result of the Bel Air fire, the City of Los Angeles initiated a series of laws and fire safety policies which included the banning of wood shingle roofs in new construction. There were also new laws about hillside brush clearance. Thankfully, these laws stand today. 
Clear the brush around your home! Now!

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