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Station Fire

October 13, 2010 | By Paul Pringle, Los Angeles Times
Under intense questioning by House members, the former U.S. Forest Service commander who led the initial attack on last year's Station fire conceded Tuesday that a "window of opportunity" to contain the flames was lost when aircraft arrived two hours late on the critical second morning of the blaze. Members of the bipartisan congressional panel spent much of the four-hour-plus session in Pasadena grilling the now-retired commander and current Forest Service officials about the response to the fire, sometimes expressing frustration that they were not getting the full story.
May 21, 2010 | By Paul Pringle, Los Angeles Times
A U.S. Senate panel has scheduled a hearing next week on proposals to repeal a decades-old U.S. Forest Service policy that bars its firefighting aircraft from flying night missions, a prohibition that some say allowed last summer's disastrous Station blaze to rage out of control. Among those set to testify at the Wednesday session is U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank), who has called for a congressional investigation into the response to the Station fire and asked lawmakers to require the Forest Service to reconsider its ban on night helicopter flights, which was imposed in the 1970s after a crash.
October 6, 2009 | Alexandra Zavis
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and other authorities held them up as examples of irresponsible behavior. They were the butt of jokes. But one of the two Big Tujunga Canyon residents who jumped into a hot tub to escape the raging Station fire says they are being unfairly judged. Julius Goff, who suffered serious burns, told The Times that he did not ignore a mandatory evacuation order but instead stayed behind to warn 10 neighbors who did not receive the order to leave. By the time he reached his own house, with plans to get his housemate and get out, the fire had surrounded them.
November 7, 2009
Re "Time for action came and went," Nov. 1 Several days after the Station fire began, I attended a press conference at the fire command center. The governor spoke, along with other officials. I could not believe my ears when a Forest Service representative announced that three to five homes had burned the day before. My neighbors and I, from the Vogel Flats area/Big Tujunga Canyon, had heard eyewitness reports (and seen photos on Facebook) of more than 20 homes in our neighborhood that had burned down that day. It is hard enough to lose one's home.
September 15, 2010 | By Paul Pringle, Los Angeles Times
A panel of local House members led by Rep. Adam Schiff (D- Burbank) will examine the battle against last year's Station fire at a public meeting next month in Pasadena. Among those scheduled to address the panel are top officials of the U.S. Forest Service and Los Angeles County Fire Department. Schiff called for a congressional inquiry after The Times reported that the Forest Service misjudged the threat posed by the fire and scaled back its assault at the end of the first day. The next morning, aircraft that the agency's commander ordered did not reach the blaze until about two hours after the appointed time.
August 21, 2010 | By Megan O'Neil, Los Angeles Times
A lawsuit filed Tuesday accuses Farmers Insurance Group of refusing to honor claims filed by policyholders whose homes were damaged by the Station fire. The plaintiffs include more than 1,100 homeowners in the Station fire burn area. The suit alleges that the insurance company denied or minimized payouts on claims for damage stemming from fire, smoke, ash, soot and wind. The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages. Farmers spokesman Jerry Davies said the company's legal team was reviewing the lawsuit, but declined to comment further.
December 31, 2009 | By Paul Pringle, Los Angeles Times
As walls of flame from the massive Station blaze closed in on their remote compound, the mission of the crews at Fire Camp 16 suddenly changed from protecting their corner of the Angeles National Forest to saving their own lives. Two Los Angeles County firefighters approached the front line of the blaze in a heroic attempt to stop its march toward the camp high in the San Gabriel Mountains and were killed as the flames engulfed the landscape, officials say. Now, four months after Capt.
December 17, 2009 | By Thomas Curwen
When the rain started to fall, Janet Blake started to worry. From the picture window of her home, she could see the stream that was once her street become a torrent of stones, branches and mud. The fire was easier, she thought; that was only six days of worry. The possibility of the mountain sliding down upon her is indefinite. Her husband, Brian Hodge, worked in the other room, and Cooper, their yellow lab, stood beside her, his tail merrily striking the ornaments on the Christmas tree.
September 5, 2009 | Ari B. Bloomekatz
The Gold Creek Ranch edges the Angeles National Forest north of Sunland, a 160-acre estate with high hills and open fields, where a 3-foot-tall wooden statue of Buddha rests under an oak tree and residents do yoga on flat rocks next to yucca plants. "It's a spiritual place," says Nicholas Bowrin, 47, who has been staying at the ranch for a little over two years. The ranch's owner, 77-year-old Jack Johnson, said the "property is my life." "I'm 23 miles from Hollywood and Vine right now, but I'm at the end of the world," Johnson said Thursday afternoon at the ranch, after fire licked at the private retreat.
September 9, 2010 | By Paul Pringle, Los Angeles Times
Acting on a request by California lawmakers, the investigative arm of Congress has agreed to conduct a broad inquiry into the U.S. Forest Service's handling of last year's devastating Station fire, officials said Wednesday. The state's two U.S. senators and several House members last month urged the Government Accountability Office to examine the Forest Service's decisions and tactics in the fire fight, including its use of aircraft and whether enough was done to protect homes that burned in Big Tujunga Canyon.
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