Saturday, September 5, 2009

City Preparations Update for Saturday 9-5-2009

Sierra Madre, CA September 5, 2009, 11:45 a.m. – City Preparations Update

The Sierra Madre Fire Department and City Officials continue to closely monitor the Station Fire. There is still no imminent danger to Sierra Madre residents and no evacuation orders have been issued. The City of Sierra Madre will maintain its current state of optimal preparedness throughout the Labor Day weekend.

The Station Fire continues to be a slow-moving, terrain-driven fire that is currently 49% contained and has burned 154,655 acres. City Officials were briefed this morning and are pleased to report that Fire Officials are “cautiously optimistic” about the security of the containment areas directly north of the City of Sierra Madre. Current estimates again place the closest edge of the fire line at more than 3.5 miles north of the City. Incident Command indicates that areas south and east of Mt. Wilson are still a high priority. This includes the foothill communities, including Sierra Madre and Chantry Flats.

The fire continues to move into heavy fuels, timber trees, and thick brush within the San Gabriel Wilderness north of the Cogswell Reservoir. This area has no historical record of burning and heavy smoke columns are expected. Current weather patterns are slightly pushing the fire further north and away from the city. This weather has shown to reduce the smoke in the area; however the heavy brush will continue to produce Pyrocumulus clouds.

Work on multiple protective fire breaks has been completed and are currently being reinforced. The fire breaks are designed to hold the fire well north of the wildland/urban interface. Firefighting operations will continue to take place both day and night as needed to hold the fire north of the containment lines that have been established from Mt. Wilson towards Highway 39. Controlled fire operations may also be conducted along these lines which are generally at least three ridges (or about 3.5 miles north) away from Sierra Madre. The controlled fire operations increase the effectiveness of the fire breaks, but should produce more smoke and flame in areas north of the City. Smoke columns, much like those that appeared yesterday afternoon, are expected to be seen throughout today as well.

The City of Sierra Madre would like to request that all residents to take time to review their emergency preparations and plans for all emergency situations including wildfire, mudslides, and earthquakes. Residents are encouraged to be “Ready for 7”; with 7 days worth of food, clothing, medicine, pet food and supplies should they have to leave their homes. Please visit the City’s website, for more information.

As the is fire predicted to continue to burn for many days, wild animals will be leaving their habitats and entering the City. Public Safety Officials warn residents to be cautious and leave all wildlife animals alone. For the safety of these animals, please do not feed them. Residents may want to take caution and keep small children and pets indoors.

In compliance with an order from the US Forest Service and the LA County Sheriff Department, the City is closing until further notice Bailey Canyon, Mt. Wilson Trail and access roads to Chantry Flats. These closures will continue throughout the Labor Day weekend and will be strictly enforced.

Fire conditions are changing constantly and this message contains the most current information the City of Sierra Madre has at this time. City Hall will be closed in observance of Labor Day Monday, September 7, 2009; however, City officials will continue to monitor and update the City’s message boards throughout the weekend. At this time, the City Council meeting for Tuesday, September 8, 2009, will take place at its regularly scheduled time.

For more information, please tune into SMTV3, channel 3 on Time Warner Cable, or eBlasts will also be sent out to registered users – to register for email alerts please visit, click on AccessSierraMadre, and then click CommunicationLink to register your email address.

The US Forest Service has set up a Public Information Hotline dedicated to the Station Fire in Angeles National Forest. The number is 626-821-6700 and will be staffed with live persons, 24 hours a day until further notice.