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UPDATED: Station Fire 411: Burns 160,557 acres, 98 percent contained Wednesday

Posted: August 30, 2009 7:23 a.m.
Updated: September 30, 2009 10:26 a.m.

A Metrolink commuter train heads north on the Antelope Valley line as the Station fire burns in the Angeles National Forest above Acton, Calif. on Sunday Aug. 30, 2009.

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UPDATED Wednesday, Sept. 30, 11 a.m. (see Related Content for links to previous and subsequent Station Fire updates and coverage):

Here are the latest updates from the Los Angeles County Fire Department, the official multi-agency Inciweb incident information system, and the city of Santa Clarita on the Station Fire in the San Gabriel Mountains between the San Fernando and Santa Clarita valleys:

Incident Overview:
Incident Commander Mike Wakoski of the Southern California Interagency Incident Command Team 3 would like to thank the public for their patience and cooperation over the last few weeks during the Station Fire. The Station Fire is now being managed by a smaller type 3 organization. This team of firefighters will continue to patrol and mop up as needed.

The main portion of the Angeles National Forest remains closed due to the Station Fire and Morris Fire. Nuisance smokes continue to pop up in the interior from snags and stump holes. Uncontained line in the San Gabriel Wilderness remains under observation from the air.

Significant events:
A 20 acre spot fire was discovered on Sept. 22 in the eastern section of the fire near Twin Peaks in San Gabriel Wilderness. It was been held in check with retardant, but remains inaccessible to ground crews.

Station Fire: By the numbers
* Containment: 98 percent
* Date of orgin: Wednesday, Aug. 26, approximately 3:30 p.m.
* Size:160,577 acres
* Total Personnel: 353
* Firefighters will continue to patrol, mop-up and improve existing lines. Protect and monitor critical communication sites. Crews will continue fire suppression repair.
* Cause: Arson and is now a homicide investigation. Contact LA County Sheriff's Department at (323) 573-2387 with questions. 

Area Closures:
* The main portion of the Angeles National Forest remains closed due to the Station Fire and Morris Fire. Nuisance smokes continue to pop up in the interior from snags and stump holes. Uncontained line in the San Gabriel Wilderness remains under observation from the air.  

* For the health and safety of our visitors, the Deukmejian Wilderness Park is presently closed until further notice.

* The Angeles National Forest call center is being staffed from 7:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. For additional information, please call 626-334-7582.

Road closures:
* Road closures are in effect throughout the fire area to protect the community.

* Big Tujunga and Little Tujunga Canyons are open to residents with I.D. only.

* Camp Williams is accessible to residents with I.D. only via Glendora Mt. Rd. or Glendora Ridge Rd. through Mt. Baldy. Please call the California Highway Patrol for further information at (323) 982-4900.  For Little Rock Reservoir, call (661) 533-2424.

Further remarks:
* Angeles Crest Highway (Highway 2) remains closed and is the primary access route for 18+ Camps/residences, numerous private residences, and the Mount Wilson Communication Facility and Observatory.

* Roads accessible to residents with ID only are Big Tujunga Canyon, Little Tujunga Canyon, Glendora Mountain Road, and Glendora Ridge Road.

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UPDATED Thursday, Sept. 24, 5 p.m. (see Related Content for links to previous and subsequent Station Fire updates and coverage):

Here are the latest updates from the Los Angeles County Fire Department, the official multi-agency Inciweb incident information system, and the city of Santa Clarita on the Station Fire in the San Gabriel Mountains between the San Fernando and Santa Clarita valleys:

Incident Overview:
A red flag warning remains in effect through 9 p.m. Thursday due to low relative humidity. This very dry air combined with very hot daytime temperatures and winds of 5-10 mph with gusts to 15 mph remain a concern.

However, firefighters remain vigilant and full containment of the fire is expected by Friday, Sept. 25 approximately 12 a.m.

Aircraft continue to extinguish remaining interior hotspots which are located in steep and rugged terrain that is inaccessible by ground crews.

The intent of these aerial operations is to extinguish remaining interior hotspots and reduce the risk of embers igniting additional fuels during the anticipated dry, hot, and windy weather.

Since Sept. 15, 600,000 gallons of water and 200,000 gallons of retardant have been dropped.

Station Fire: By the numbers
* Containment: 94 percent
* Estimated Containment Date: Friday, Sept. 25 approximately 12 a.m.
* Date of origin: Wednesday, Aug. 26, approximately 3:30 p.m.
* Size: 160,577 acres
* Total personnel: 693
* Firefighters will continue to patrol, mop-up and improve existing lines. Protect and monitor critical communication sites. Crews will continue fire suppression repair.
* Cause: Arson and is now a homicide investigation. Contact LA County Sheriff's Department at (323) 573-2387 with questions. 

Evacuations
* All evacuations have been lifted, but if the roads to your residence are closed, you will not be allowed back in until the roads are open.

Road Closures:
* Closures are in effect throughout the fire area to protect the community. Please call the California Highway Patrol for further information at (323) 982-4900. For Little Rock Reservoir, call (661) 533-2424.

Further Remarks
* Angeles Crest Highway (Highway 2) remains closed and is the primary access route for 18+ Camps/residences, numerous private residences, and the Mount Wilson Communication Facility and Observatory. Highway 39 (Azusa Canyon) remains closed as well. Roads accessible to residents with ID only are Big Tujunga Canyon, Little Tujunga Canyon, Glendora Mountain Road, and Glendora Ridge Road.

The L.A. County damage assessment included 132 vehicles destroyed and 14 damaged. Southern California Incident Management Team 3 is in command of the Station Fire.
 
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UPDATED Thursday, Sept. 17, 3 p.m. (see Related Content for links to previous and subsequent Station Fire updates and coverage):

Here are the latest updates from the Los Angeles County Fire Department, the official multi-agency Inciweb incident information system, and the city of Santa Clarita on the Station Fire in the San Gabriel Mountains between the San Fernando and Santa Clarita valleys:

Station Fire: By the numbers
* Containment: 93%
* Estimated Containment Date: Saturday, Sept. 19, approximately 6 p.m.
* Date of origin: Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2009, approximately 3:30 p.m.
* Fire Behavior: Minimal fire behavior due to high humidity and cooler temperatures.
* Size: 160,557 acres
* Total personnel: 898
* Firefighters will continue to patrol, mop-up and improve existing lines. Protect and monitor critical communication sites. Crews will continue fire suppression repair.
* Cause: Arson and is now a homicide investigation. Contact LA County Sheriff's Department at (323) 573-2387 with questions. 
 
Evacuations
* All evacuations have been lifted, but if the roads to your residence are closed, you will not be allowed back in until the roads are open.

Area Closures
* In the Angeles National Forest Closure:
An area closure of the southern portion of the Angeles National Forest is in effect until it is determined that it is safe to reopen forest areas. For additional information on the closure, and a map go to fs.fed.us/r5/angeles/ or call 626-821-6700.

Road Closures
* Closures are in effect throughout the fire area to protect the community. Please call the California Highway Patrol for further information at (323) 982-4900. For Little Rock Reservoir, call (661) 533-2424.

Further remarks
Angeles Crest Highway remains closed and is the primary access route for 18+ Camps/residences, numerous private residences, and the Mount Wilson Communication Facility and Observatory. The L.A. County damage assessment included 132 vehicles destroyed and 14 damaged.

Southern California Incident Management Team 3 is now in command of the Station Fire.

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UPDATED Monday, Sept. 7, 6 p.m. (see Related Content for links to previous and subsequent updates and coverage): 

Here are the latest updates from the Los Angeles County Fire Department, the official multi-agency Inciweb incident information system, and the city of Santa Clarita on the Station Fire in the San Gabriel Mountains between the San Fernando and Santa Clarita valleys:

* Health Warning: LADPH has issued a Boil Water Order for residence returing to the Angeles National Forest area affected by the Station Fire. (Official Health Notice)
* Highway 39 is closed to all vehicle traffic with the exception of emergency vehicles.

Station Fire: By the numbers
* Containment: 56%
* Acres: 157,220
& Square miles: 242
* The fire has been contained from the southwest of Little Rock to Pacoima Canyon and from the Magic Mountain Wilderness to La Canada-Flintridge.
* Cause: Arson and is now a homicide investigation. Contact LA County Sheriff's Department at (323) 573-2387 with questions
* Structures destroyed/damaged:
-- Residences: 78/13
-- Commercial Properties: 2/1
-- Outbuildings/Others: 86/28
* 2 Firefighter fatalities
* 10 injuries

Evacuations
* All evacuations have been lifted, but if the roads to your residence are closed, you will not be allowed back in until the roads are open.

Area closures
* In Glendale, Deukmejian Wilderness Park is closed.
* In the Angeles National Forest, the southern portion is closed until the U.S. Forest Service determines it's safe to reopen forest areas. For more info on the closure, click here.

Open to residents only
* Big Tujunga Canyon Rd at Mt. Gleason
* Little Tujunga Canyon Rd and Live Oak Campground
* Little Tujunga Canyon Rd 1/4 mile north of the Wildlife Way Station

Road closures
* Santa Anita Canyon Rd. to Chantry Flats
* Aliso Canyon Rd at Angeles Forest Hwy
* Big Tujunga Rd at Angeles Forest Hwy
* Big Rock Creek Rd closed at Big Pines Rd
* Highway 39 between San Gabriel Canyon Road and East Fork Rd
* Soledad Canyon Rd at Indian Canyon Trail Head
* Angeles Crest Hwy between Big Pines Hwy and mile marker 26.7 north of Altadena
* Big Pines Hwy at SR-2
* Cheney Trail at Angeles National Forest gate (Loma Alta)

Evacuation Centers
* Verdugo High School, 10625 Plain View Ave. Tujunga
* Golden Valley High School, 27051 Robert C. Lee Pkwy, Santa Clarita

Closed Evacuation Centers
o Crescenta Valley High School, 2900 Community Ave. La Cresenta
o La Canada High School, 4463 Oak Grove Ave. La Canada
o Marie Kerr Park (Moved from Highland High School), 39700 30th St. West, Palmdale

Animal Shelters
* Large Animals
o Pierce College (horses only)
o Antelope Valley Fair Grounds

* Small Animals
o LA County Agoura Hills Animal Shelter
o Pasadena Humane Society
o Baldwin Park Animal Shelter

* For more information on animal shelters visit the Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control Web site.

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UPDATED Saturday, Sept. 5, 4 p.m. (see Related Content for links to previous and subsequent updates and coverage): 

Here's the latest from the Associated Press:
Fire no longer threatening Santa Clarita Valley, other L.A.-area communities
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- The western flank of the deadly wildfire north of Los Angeles is under control, sparing foothill communities further threat as it burned east into a large wilderness area.

Meanwhile, investigators are trying to determine who ignited the blaze that killed two firefighters, destroyed at least 76 homes and burned nearly 242 square miles of the Angeles National Forest.

The fire's origin near Angeles Crest Highway remains cordoned off this afternoon as authorities sought more clues in the case, but they were hesitant to release any findings to the media.

Sheriff's detectives opened a homicide investigation after the fire was ruled arson earlier this week. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has offered $100,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the culprit.

Forest Service spokeswoman Jan Ulrich said the fire was 49 percent contained by early this afternoon after crews built protective lines on the northwestern flank near Santa Clarita.

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UPDATED Saturday, Sept. 5, 12 noon (see Related Content for links to previous and subsequent updates and coverage): 

Here's the latest from the Associated Press:
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Firefighters have increased containment of the fire north of Los Angeles to 49 percent.

U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman Michelle Caldwell says the risk to homes is significantly reduced Saturday morning as crews hold the fire line to the north, south and west.

The arson-caused blaze has scorched nearly 242 square miles and continues to burn unchecked to the east into the rural San Gabriel Wilderness. More than 76 homes and other structures have been destroyed since the fire began last week.

A $100,000 reward has been offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the arsonist.

Here are the latest updates from the Los Angeles County Fire Department, the official multi-agency Inciweb incident information system, and the city of Santa Clarita on the Station Fire in the San Gabriel Mountains between the San Fernando and Santa Clarita valleys:

Station Fire summary
The Station Fire has burned 242 square miles of land within the Angeles National Forest and near surrounding foothill communities of La Canada Flintridge, La Crescenta, Acton, Soledad Canyon, Pasadena, Glendale and Sierra Madre.

The Incident Management Team's goal is to keep the fire west of Highway 39 and Angeles Crest Highway, east of Interstate 5; south of Highway 14, Pearblossom Highway and Highway 138; and north of the foothill communities and the Angeles National Forest Boundary.

Firefighters made good progress Friday night and completed line construction on the western perimeter of the fire. They also successfully burned out areas between Bear Mountain and Chilao to extend the fire line on the northeastern perimeter.

* Fire behavior: Thursday night's operating period yielded sucessful fire operation and continued line construction.
Active fire behavior put up a large convection column Friday afternoon. Friday night the fire showed moderate fire activity due to moderatly cooler tempertures and slightly higher humidity.

* The fire is currently burning in the San Gabriel wilderness. Today (Saturday) firefighters will continue to improve existing lines and concentrate efforts on containing the east and southeast flanks of the fire.

Station Fire to date: By the numbers
* 2 frefighter fatalities
* 9 injuries
* Start date/time: Aug. 26, 2009, 3:20 p.m.
* Location: Highway 2 north of La Canada-Flintridge
* Fuels involved: Very heavy fuels of ceanothus, chamise, scrub oak and manzanita across the entire fire area, 15 to 20 feet in height with Big Cone Douglas Fir in the drainage bottoms. Fuels have not experienced any significant large fire activity in the past 40 years.
* Terrain difficulty: Extreme
* Growth potential: High
* Total personnel: 5.244
* Helitankers: 12
* Helicopters: 7
* Air tankers: 8 (a DC10 and a 747 also available as needed)
* Engines: 343
* Hand crews: 148
* Bulldozers: 66
* Containment: 49%
* Estimated containment date: Tuesday, Sept. 15, approximately 6 p.m.
* Acres burned: 154,655
* Square miles: 242

Cause
*  Arson. Now an Los Angeles County Sheriff's homicide investigation. Call (323) 573-387 with questions or information.

Structures damaged, destroyed, threatened
* 13 damaged and 76 destroyed residences
* 1 damaged and 2 destroyed commercial properties
* 2 communication sites destroyed
* 18 damaged and 86 destroyed outbuildings/others
* 7,000 structures threatened
* 200 commercial structures threatened

Evacuation information
All mandatory evacuations have been lifted but if the roads to your residence are closed, you will not be allowed back in until the roads are open.

City Parks & Recreation closures
The city of Santa Clarita's Sports Complex, home to the Skate Park, Aquatic Center, Gymnasium and Activities Center, is open for drop-in recreational programs once again following a week of closures due to poor air quality.

The Recreation Division is still monitoring the air quality and all facilities remain subject to closure if there's af a significant drop in air quality. Residents may want to call ahead before heading to the facilities. The number is (661) 250-3700.

City of Santa Clarita youth programs resume today
Organized Youth Sports programs and classes will resume today, Saturday, Sept. 5, although the city advises residents to pay close attention to air quality before resuming strenuous outdoor activity.

All Youth Sports activities will resume today except those scheduled for Central Park.

All activities at Central Park are canceled until further notice because the park is a temporary staging area for emergency personnel battling on the Station Fire.

Area closures
* Glendale (Deukmejian Wilderness Park)
* Angeles National Forest (area closure of the southern portion of the forest is in effect until it is determined that it is safe to reopen forest areas. For additional information on the closure, go to www.fs.fed.us/r5/angeles/).

Open to residents only
* City of Los Angeles: Riverwood Sister Elsie Canyon and Blanchard Canyon
* Pacoima Canyon: Little Tujunga Cyn. Rd. between the Wildlife Way Station and Dillon Divide

Road closures
*
Big Tujunga Rd 1 mile north of Mt Gleason Rd at the City/County line
* Soledad Canyon Rd at Indian Canyon Trail Head
* Angeles Crest Hwy between Big Pines Hwy and mile marker 26.7 north of Altadena
* Big Pines Hwy at SR-2
* Cheney Trail at Angeles National Forest gate (Loma Alta)

Open to residents only
* Little Tujunga Canyon Rd and Live Oak Campground
* Aliso Canyon Rd at Y8
* Aliso Canyon Rd at Angeles Forest Hwy
* Little Tujunga Canyon Rd at 1 mile north of the Wildlife Way Station

Evacuation centers (Addresses are located on this interactive map)
* Verdugo High School, 10625 Plain View Ave., Tujunga
* Golden Valley High School, 27051 Robert C. Lee Pkwy., Santa Clarita (Newhall)
* Marie Kerr Park (Moved from Highland High School), 39700 30th St. West, Palmdale

Pet evacuation centers
* Crescenta Valley High School, 2900 Community Ave. La Crescenta, CA
* La Canada High School, 4463 Oak Grove Ave. La Canada, CA

Animal shelters
* Large Animals (Pierce College (horses, donkeys and mules only); Antelope Valley Fairgrunds)
* Small Animals (Agoura Animal Shelter, L.A. County Agoura Hills Animal Shelter, Baldwin Park Animal Shelter, Pasadena Humane Society
* For more information on animal shelters visit the Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control Web site.

Cooperators
U.S. Forest Service (lead agency) with support from the Los Angeles County Fire Department, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, the Los Angeles City Fire Department, the California Highway Patrol, Caltrans, the American Red Cross, CAL FIRE, Southern California Edison, and the cities of Arcadia, Monrovia and Sierra Madre.

Remarks
The Station Fire is under unified command with CIIMT5, Los Angeles County Fire and the Los Angeles County Sheriff. The incident commander is Matt Dietrich.

Angeles Crest Highway remains closed and is primary access route for camps, numerous private residences, and the Mount Wilson Communication Facility and Observatory.

The main command center is in Lake Terrace near Hansen Dam in the San Fernando Valley and at Central Park in Saugus in the Santa Clarita Valley, on the north side of the fire area.

The Mount Wilson communications complex, a major communications hub for all of Southern California, is not directly threatened,

-- Signal Online Editor Stephen K. Peeples

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UPDATED Friday, Sept. 4, 8 p.m. (see Related Content for links to previous and subsequent updates and coverage): 

Here are the latest stats from the Los Angeles County Fire Department and the official multi-agency Inciweb incident information system on the Station Fire in the San Gabriel Mountains between the San Fernando and Santa Clarita valleys, as of 8 p.m. Friday:

* 2 frefighter fatalities
* 9 injuries
* Thursday night's operating period yielded sucessful fire operation and continued line construction.
* Containment: 49%
* Acres burned: 154,655
* Fire behavior: Thursday night the fire showed moderate activity due to moderately cooler tempertures and slightly higher humidity.
* Cause: Arson. Now and L.A. County Sheriff's homicide investigation. Contact L.A. County Sheriff's Department at (323) 573-387 with questions or information.

Structures damaged or destroyed
* 13 damaged and 76 destroyed residences
* 1 damaged and 2 destroyed commercial properties
* 2 communication sites
* 18 damaged and 86 destroyed outbuildings/others
* Total personnel: 5.244
* Fire behavior: Active fire behavior put up a large convection column Friday afternoon.
* Fuels involved: Very heavy fuels of ceanothus, chamise, scrub oak and manzanita across the entire fire area, 15 to 20 feet in height with Big Cone Douglas Fir in the drainage bottoms. Fuels have not experienced any significant large fire activity in the past 40 years.
* Terrain difficulty: Extreme
*Growth potential: High
* Estimated containment date: Tuesday, Sept. 15, approximately 6 p.m.

Evacuation information
All evacuations have been lifted but if the roads to your residence are closed, you will not be allowed back in until the roads are open.

City Parks & Recreation closures
The city of Santa Clarita's Sports Complex, home to the Skate Park, Aquatic Center, Gymnasium and Activities Center, is open for drop-in recreational programs once again following a week long series of closures due to poor air quality.

The Recreation Division is still monitoring the air quality and all facilities remain subject to closure if there's af a significant drop in air quality. Residents may want to call ahead before heading to the facilities. The number is (661) 250-3700.

Youth programs resume Saturday
Organized Youth Sports programs and classes will resume today Sept. 5, although the city advises residents to pay close attention to air quality before resuming strenuous outdoor activity.

All Youth Sports activities will resume except those scheduled for Central Park. All activities at Central Park are canceled until further notice because Central Park is currently being used as a staging area for emergency personnel working on the Station Fire.

Area closures
* Glendale (Deukmejian Wilderness Park)
* Angeles National Forest (area closure of the southern portion of the forest is in effect until it is determined that it is safe to reopen forest areas).

Open to residents only
* City of Los Angeles: Riverwood Sister Elsie Canyon and Blanchard Canyon
* Pacoima Canyon: Little Tujunga Cyn. Rd. between the Wildlife Way Station and Dillon Divide

Road closures
* Angeles Crest Hwy. between Big Pines Hwy. and mile marker 26.7 north of Altadena
* Little Tujunga Rd. between Osborne St. and the Bear Divide Ranger Station
* Big Tujunga Rd. between Mt. Gleason Ave. and Angeles Forest Hwy.
* Chaney Trail at Loma Alta - Angeles National Forest gate
* Big Pines at SR-2 (Antelope Valley)
* Soledad Canyon Rd. at Indian Cyn. Trail Head
* Angeles Forest Hwy. at Mt. Emma
* Aliso Cyn. at Y8 (Antelope Valley)
* Aliso Cyn. at Angeles Forest Hwy. (Antelope Valley)

Open to residents only:
* Little Tujunga Canyon Rd and Live Oak Campground
* Aliso Canyon Rd at Y8
* Aliso Canyon Rd at Angeles Forest Hwy
* Little Tujunga Canyon Rd at � mile north of the Wildlife Way Station

Evacuation Centers (Addresses are located on this interactive map)
* Verdugo High School, 10625 Plain View Ave., Tujunga
* Golden Valley High School, 27051 Robert C. Lee Pkwy., Santa Clarita (Newhall)
* Marie Kerr Park (Moved from Highland High School), 39700 30th St. West, Palmdale

Closed Evacuation Centers
* Crescenta Valley High School, 2900 Community Ave. La Crescenta, CA
* La Canada High School, 4463 Oak Grove Ave. La Canada, CA

Animal Shelters
* Large Animals (Perce College (Horses Only); Antelope Valley Fairgrunds)

* Small Animals (Agoura Animal Shelter, LA County Agoura Hills Animal Shelter, Lancaster Animal Shelter, Castaic Animal Shelter, Baldwin Park Animal Shelter, Pasadena Humane Society

* For more information on animal shelters visit the Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control Web site.

Remarks
The Station Fire is under unified command with CIIMT5, Los Angeles County Fire and the Los Angeles County Sheriff.

Angeles Crest Highway remains closed and is primary access route for camps, numerous private residences, and the Mount Wilson Communication Facility and Observatory.

The main command center is in Lake Terrace near Hansen Dam in the San Fernando Valley and at Central Park in Saugus in the Santa Clarita Valley, on the north side of the fire area.

The Mount Wilson communications complex a major communications hub for all of Southern California, is still directly threatened, but county firefighters have so far protected broacast towers and the historic Mt. Wilson Observatory.

-- Signal Online Editor Stephen K. Peeples

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UPDATED Thursday, Sept. 3, 9:45 p.m. (see Related Content for links to previous and subsequent updates and coverage): 

Here are the latest stats from the Los Angeles County Fire Department on the Station Fire, as of 8:50 p.m. Thursday:
* Last night's operating period yielded sucessful fire operation and continued line construction.
* Containment: 38%
* Acres: 147,418 acres
* Fire behavior: Very active today. Extreme fire behavior was observed when the winds and slopes came into alignment.
* Cause: Arson
* Date of origin: Wednesday, Aug. 26,approximately 3:30 p.m.
* 94 structures destroyed (64 residences, 3 commercial structures, 27 others)
* 2 firefighter fatalities
* 7 injuries

Additional stats from the multi-agency Inciweb incident information system as of 8:55 p.m.:

* 230 square miles
* Estimated containment date: Sept. 15
* 6,000 structures threatened
* 200 commercial buildings threatened
* 2 communications sites destroyed

* Cooperators: U.S. Forest Service (Lead Agency) with support from Los Angeles County Fire Department, Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, Los Angeles City Fire Department, Glendale Fire Department, Pasadena Fire Department, California State Highway Patrol, Caltrans, Red Cross, CAL FIRE, Southern California Edison, and the cities of Arcadia, Monrovia and Sierra Madre.
* Approximate Personnel Assigned: 4,847
* Helitankers: 12
* Helicopters: 7
* Air tankers: 11 (including the DC-10, the 747, the Martin Mars)
* Engines: 419
* Hand crews: 121
* Bulldozers: 66

Summary
The Station Fire has burned 230 square miles of land within the Angeles National Forest and near surrounding foothill communities of La Canada Flintridge, La Crescenta, Acton, Soledad Canyon, Pasadena, Glendale and Sierra Madre. The goal of the Incident Management Team is to keep the fire west of Highway 39 and Angeles Crest Highway, east of Interstate 5, south of Highway 14, Pearblossom Highway, and Highway 138, and north of the foothill communities and the Angeles National Forest Boundary. The fire is moving into areas of the forest with no recorded fire history.

Noxious fumes emanating from media area
Concerned about the safety conditions of the press area at the Station Fire Incident Command Post in Lakeview Terrace, Incident Safety personnel contacted the L.A. County Health Department to monitor carbon monoxide levels at the camp. The concern surrounded numerous media vans and their generators running 24 hours day, high temperatures and humidity, minimal air movement, and a compressed space for the media equipment.

At mid-afternoon today, high levels of carbon monoxide were detected around the media press conference area at the Station Fire Incident Command Post. Carbon monoxide levels returned to a safe reading after the vans and generator were turned off for a couple of hours.

-- Signal Online Editor Stephen K. Peeples

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UPDATED Thursday, Sept. 3, 6:30 p.m. (see Related Content for links to previous and subsequent updates and coverage): 

Homicide probed in massive arson fire
Investigators launched a homicide investigation Thursday into the wildfire north of Los Angeles after determining that the gigantic blaze - which has killed two firefighters, scorched 226 square miles and destroyed dozens of homes - was set intentionally.

The two firefighters died Sunday in the Mt. Gleason area south of Acton when their truck rolled off a mountainside as they battled the massive Station Fire in the San Gabriel Mountains.

Get the full story.

-- Signal Staff

UPDATED Thursday, Sept. 3, 2:30 p.m. (see Related Content for links to previous and subsequent updates and coverage): 

According to the Los Angeles County Fire Department's most recent update on the Station Fire, the blaze has burned 144,743 acres (that area encompasses 226 square miles) and is 38 percent contained.

The Station Fire still threatens nearly 10,000 residences. More than 4,735 firefighters and emergency personnel are assisting in the battle against the wildfire. Two firefighters

The Station Fire continues to burn within the Angeles National Forest and near surrounding foothill communities of La Canada-Flintridge, La Crescenta, Acton, Soledad Canyon, Pasadena, Glendale and Sierra Madre.

Since the start of the Station Fire, helicopters have dropped 1.7 million gallons of water and 18,000 gallons of retardant. Air tankers have dropped 670,000 gallons of retardant and gel.

-- Signal Staff Writer Brian Charles

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UPDATED Monday,  Sept 1, 5:45 p.m. (see Related Content for links to previous and subsequent updates): 

Here are the latest stats from the Los Angeles County Fire Department on the Station Fire:
* Containment: 5%
* Acres: 105,296
* 75 miles of fire line to construct
* Fire Behavior: Extremely active with rapid rates of spread and flame lengths up to 80 feet
* Cause: Under investigation
* Red flag warning extended through 9 p.m. Monday

-- Signal Staff

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UPDATED Monday, Sept. 1, 1:45 p.m.:
Noon Station Fire update
Fire crept down near homes south of Soledad Canyon Road in the Acton area overnight, but an overview from the road showed no houses burned.

Bulldozers and handcrews cut an 8-mile fire break overnight from Bootlegger Canyon Road to Aliso Canyon Road.

"Everything here is done and contained," said Don Damann, heavy equipment operation for Los Angeles County Fire Department.

Ash littered the hills surrounding those homes, showing the fire had burned very close to some.

A breeze blowing northeast picked up around noon.

Flames were visible on a ridge to the west of Acton, and helicopters were dropping water. A big plume of smoke was rising to the east.

-- Signal Managing Editor Lila Littlejohn

Shambala Wild Animal Preserve update
At Shambala Preserve in Acton, where exotic animals are housed, the air was smoky today but the fire had not come near the preserve. It was burning away from Shambala today.

A man who answered the phone early Monday afternoon at the Shambala Preserve in Acton - home to a number of exotic animals - said it has not been evacuated, but that the property is being secured.

He then said he could not talk and hung up.

Directed by actress Tippi Hedren - likely best known for her role in Alfred Hitchcock's "The Birds" - the preserve is home to around 70 lions, tigers, bobcats and panthers.

-- Signal Senior Writer Josh Premako

Blum ranch residents refuse to leave
Despite an order to evacuate, Elizabeth Billet said she and her husband, Ray, are staying put at Blum Ranch in Acton.

The couple cultivate about 60 of the roughly 100-year-old ranch's 160 acres, producing peaches, plums, pears, lilacs and honey.

"We don't like the smoke that we're seeing," Elizabeth said early Monday afternoon, and added the fire was about a mile away Sunday.

The couple, who live in a 95-year-old stone and timber house, have no plans to leave. Elizabeth, 74, said Ray, 75, can assist firefighters by providing water.

The ranch is located in Aliso Canyon, a few miles east of Highway 14.

The farm is in the midst of harvesting peaches, but Elizabeth said: "Everything's kind of on hold right now."

This is not the Billets' first run-in with a fire. Several years ago a brush fire tore through the orchard.

"We didn't leave before and we don't plan to this time," Elizabeth said.

-- Signal Senior Writer Josh Premako

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UPDATED Monday, Sept. 1 , 12:25 p.m.:
City park closures today

With smoke blanketing the Santa Clarita Valley, the Santa Clarita Aquatics Center and Skate Park are closed today, while indoor activities continue in the gym and Activities Center, city spokeswoman Gail Ortiz said. She said closures will be decided on a day-by-day basis.

Additionally, Central Park in Saugus has been closed until further notice, as it has been set up as a base camp for nearly 2,000 firefighters battling the Station Fire. The park has been frequently used as a staging area for firefighters.

-- Signal Senior Writer Josh Premako

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UPDATED Monday, Sept. 1, 10:25 a.m.:

Evacuation centers, school activities today

Acton evacuations as of 9 a.m., per Los Angeles County Fire Department:

 All residences to the south of Soledad Canyon Road from Highway 14 to Crown Valley Road
 All residences in Aliso Canyon Road from Angeles Forest Highway to Soledad Canyon Road

The following evacuation centers are open for Acton and Agua Dulce residents who have been ordered to leave their homes:
 Golden Valley High School: 27051 Robert C. Lee Parkway, Canyon Country. Phone: (661) 298-8140
 Marie Kerr Park: 39700 30th St., Palmdale. Phone: (661) 267-5675
 Highland High School in Palmdale is no longer accepting people to the evacuation center.

Horses can be taken to:
 Pierce College: 6201 Winnetka Ave., Woodland Hills Phone: (818) 719-6401
 Antelope Valley Fairgrounds: 2551 West Avenue H, Lancaster Phone: (661) 948-6060

The poor air quality means local kids will be avoiding strenuous activities.

"Anything that involves strenuous activities inside or outside is cancelled until further notice," said Pat Willett, spokeswoman for the William S. Hart Union High School District.

All P.E. classes will be held indoors and all sports practices have been put on hold, she said.

At Saugus Union School District, kids will be allowed outside for lunch, but strenuous activities like basketball and soccer will not be permitted, said Keith Karzin, director of safety and risk management for the district.

Kids with asthma and respiratory problems will be kept indoors and other children who feel uncomfortable outside will be able to stay inside, he said.

The district receives air quality reports from the South Coast Air Quality Management District, which are then given to all school sites, he said.

-- Signal Staff Writer Tammy Marashlian

++++++++++++++++++

UPDATED Sunday, Aug. 31, 9:58 p.m.:
The Station Fire marched relentlessly toward Acton on Sunday, scaling hillsides, crawling through canyons and bearing down on homes on the east end of the rural community.

As of Sunday night, the fire that began Wednesday in the foothills above La Canada Flintridge had chewed up 66 square miles of forest, consumed 18 structures and threatened 12,000 homes.

"The fire is very active in the Acton area and we are putting resources in Acton," said Stephanie English, Los Angeles County Fire Department spokeswoman.

Some 2,500 firefighters were battling the blaze, she said.

English added that the fire is 5 percent contained. She also gave Santa Clarita Valley residents reason to breathe easier.

"There is no threat to Santa Clarita," English said.

Strike teams were set up in Sand Canyon on Sunday when the fire looked poised to rip through that community on the eastern edge of the Santa Clarita Valley.

The fire, which last week danced along the edge of La Canada Flintridge and La Crescenta, made a run at Acton Saturday night, said resident Jim Nagle, 55.

"At about 10 (Saturday night) I saw the hillside on fire," he said.

A third straight day of low humidity and temperatures flirting with 100 degrees helped the fire grow from 35,000 acres to more than 42,000 acres Sunday.

Mandatory evacuations were in effect for neighborhoods in Altadena, La Crescenta and Big Tujunga Canyon and homes south of Soledad Canyon Road in Acton, English said.

The mandatory evacuations, the ominous cocktail of orange, black and brown smoke billowing from the fire, and a wall of flames nearly a mile long did little to scare off Nagle and other neighbors on Arrastre Canyon Road, a mile south of Soledad Canyon Road in Acton.

"Why leave?" Nagle asked. "I'll only leave if my house catches fire."

Steve Trotta, 49, of Acton weathered the last fire that ripped through Acton in May and said he pays close attention to the weather during wild fires.

"I operate an amateur weather station at my house and I noticed the wind shifted at 11 a.m. (Sunday) and started blowing the fire right at us," he said. "That's when I started to pack."

While Trotta was packed and ready to go Sunday evening, he said he wouldn't leave unless the fire looked like it was going to make a run at his house.

As the sun sank behind the mountains west of Acton, one firefighter said darkness brings additional challenges for those battling the blaze.

"We lose something with the sunlight. We lose the aircraft and the air attack," said Roy Dombrowski, United States Forest Service fire prevention captain. "But the relative humidity goes down and the fire lays down. We can fight the fire on the ground."

While many of the resources were shifting to the Station Fire's northern flank, firefighters hoped to keep the blaze from spreading up Mount Wilson.

Many of the region's broadcast and communications antennas and a historic observatory are located on the mountain top.

Flames were within two miles of the towers late Sunday, fire officials said.

"The leading edge, the one they're really focused on, is that northern edge. It's moving pretty fast up in that direction," said U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman Randi Jorgenson.

-- Signal Staff Writer Brian Charles

+++++++++++++++++++++++

UPDATED Sunday, Aug. 31, 9:05 p.m.:
Two firefighters died in the Mt. Gleason area south of Acton when their truck rolled off a mountainside as they battled the massive Station Fire in the San Gabriel Mountains Sunday, according to Los Angeles County Fire Department officials.

County Deputy Fire Chief Mike Bryant said at a news conference that the two men were amid intense fire near Mt. Gleason in the Angeles National Forest on Sunday afternoon when the vehicle crashed.

A tearful Bryant said the men's families have been notified. He did not release their identities or give a cause for the crash.

Mwanwhile a 1-mile-long wall of flames is moving north and west through the Angeles National Forest toward the town of Acton.

Breezes were light in the late afternoon but they began picking up as the sun set. The wind is blowing from the south and east, pushing flames north and west.

Eastern Acton remains under a mandatory evacuation order, as does everything east of Soledad Canyon Road.

Some residents in the Arrastre Canyon Road and Moody Canyon Road areas refused to leave their homes. They said a fire last May largely denuded the area, and didn't believe the fuel is sufficient to merit leaving their homes.

More than 2,800 firefighters and 350 law enforcement officers are battling the blaze, which started Wednesday in the foothills behind La Canada Flintridge and has spread northward all the way to Acton.

It has now consumed 42,500 acres, is only 5 percent contained, and still out of control, according to county fire officials. Some 12,000 homes were threatened by the blaze, and at least 18 structures were believed destroyed late Sunday.

-- Signal Online Editor Stephen K. Peeples and Wire Services


++++++++++++++++++

UPDATED Sunday, Aug. 31, 7:35 p.m.:

SCV road closure update:
* Soledad Canyon Road north at Highway 14.
* Escondido Canyon Road eastward at Highway 14.
* Agua Dulce Canyon Road eastward at Highway 14.
* Soledad Canyon Road south at Crown Valley Road.
* Crown Valley Road eastward at Soledad Canyon Road.

Evacuations are still in effect for Acton, all residences to the south of Soledad Canyon Road from Highway 14 to Crown Valley Road, and all residences in Aliso Canyon Road from Angeles Forest Highway to Soledad Canyon Road.

Highway 14 remains open in both directions, according to the California Highway Patrol.

SCV resident and SCV Signal Facebook friend Greg Barbacovi reported at about 3:20 p.m. that flames were visible from Highway 14 just south of the Santiago exit, and confirmed freeway traffic was flowing smoothly.

-- Signal Managing Editor Lila Littlejohn

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Here's an update from the Associated Press:
UPDATED Sunday, Aug. 31, 5:10 p.m.

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Wildfire threatened 12,000 suburban homes and rained ash on cars as far away as downtown Los Angeles on Sunday, spreading in all directions in hot, dry conditions. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger urged those in the fire's path to listen to authorities and get out.

Firefighters fixed their attention on the blaze's fast-moving northern front as more evacuations were ordered.

While thousands have fled, two people who tried to ride out the firestorm in a backyard hot tub were critically burned. The pair in Big Tujunga Canyon, on the southwestern edge of the fire, "completely underestimated the fire" and the hot tub provided "no protection whatsoever," Sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore said Sunday.

The two individuals made their way to firefighters and were airlifted out by a sheriff's rescue helicopter. They received adequate notification to evacuate from deputies but decided to stay, Whitmore said.

One of the two was treated and released and the other remained hospitalized in stable condition. A third person was burned Saturday in an evacuation area along Highway 2 near Mount Wilson, officials said. Details of that injury were not immediately known.

"There were people that did not listen, and there were three people that got burned and got critically injured because they did not listen," Schwarzenegger said at a news conference at the fire command post.

The blaze was only about 5 percent contained and had scorched 55 square miles in the Angeles National Forest. Mandatory evacuations were in effect for neighborhoods in Glendale, Pasadena and other cities and towns north of Los Angeles. Officials said air quality in parts of the foothills bordered on hazardous.

At least three homes deep in the Angeles National Forest were confirmed destroyed, but firefighters were likely to find others, Dietrich said.

Firefighters hoped to keep the blaze from spreading up Mount Wilson, where many of the region's broadcast and communications antennas and a historic observatory are located. Flames were within two miles of the towers Sunday, and headed in that direction, with only dry brush between them, fire officials said.

For the third straight day, humidity was very low and temperatures were expected in the high 90s. Some 2,000 firefighters were battling the blaze.

Mandatory evacuations were also in effect for neighborhoods in Altadena and for the communities of Acton, La Canada Flintridge, La Crescenta and Big Tujunga Canyon.

There was some progress Sunday, as a small number of La Canada Flintridge residents living west of the Arroyo Seco were told they could go back to their homes.

But more evacuations were ordered in the small town of Acton in the Antelope Valley, and school districts in La Canada Flintridge and Glendale announced that classes were canceled Monday because of the fire.

The fire traveled six to eight miles overnight, burning as actively after dark as it did during the day, said Forest Service Capt. Mike Dietrich. Dietrich said he had never seen a fire grow so quickly without powerful Santa Ana winds to push it.

"The leading edge, the one they're really focused on, is that northern edge. It's moving pretty fast up in that direction," said U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman Randi Jorgenson. "But the fire's growing in all directions. All fronts are going to be areas of concern today."

Fixed-wing aircraft and a DC-10 jumbo jet were dropping water and flame retardant on the fire.

At the fire command post, Schwarzenegger praised firefighters for successfully protecting subdivisions in the foothills.

Rob Driscoll and his wife, Beth Halaas, said they lost their house in Big Tujunga Canyon. By Sunday morning they were desperate for more information and came to the command post to get answers.

"Our neighbors sent us photos of all the other houses that are lost," Halaas said, her voice breaking as her young son nestled his sunburned face in her arms. "We've heard as many as 30 houses burned."

Driscoll said 15 of his neighbors who live on private property within the forest were still waiting for word on their homes. Fire officials assured them teams were working to survey the damage.

At least 12 evacuation centers were set up at schools and community centers in the area.

The center at Crescenta Valley High School filled up after evacuation orders came down at about 2 a.m., but by Sunday afternoon fewer than two dozen people remained. Residents trickled in to get information and snacks.

Debbie and Mercer Barrows said their house was saved but they lost their scenic view of a hillside to the flames.

"That'll grow back," said Mercer Barrows, a TV producer.

The Barrows didn't consider staying in their home because there's only one way in to their La Crescenta neighborhood.

"It depends where your house is, if you can see what's coming. If you're up next to steep and heavy brush like we are, forget it," Barrows said.

The fire, which broke out Wednesday afternoon, was the largest and most dangerous of several burning around southern and central California and in Yosemite National Park.

A second fire in the Angeles National Forest was burning several miles to the east in a canyon above the city of Azusa. The 3.4-square-mile blaze, which started Tuesday afternoon, was 95 percent contained Sunday. No homes were threatened, and full containment was expected by Monday.

A wildfire on the Palos Verdes Peninsula on the south Los Angeles County coast was 100 percent contained, according to county fire officials.

Southeast of Los Angeles in Riverside County, a 3.8-square-mile fire in a rural area of the San Bernardino National Forest was 75 percent contained as it burned in steep, rocky terrain in Beeb Canyon. No structures were threatened.

To the north, in the state's coastal midsection, all evacuation orders were lifted Sunday after a 10-square-mile fire burned near the Monterey County town of Soledad. The blaze, 80 percent contained, was started by agricultural fireworks used to scare animals away from crops. The fire destroyed one home.

In Mariposa County, a nearly 7-square-mile fire burned in Yosemite National Park. The blaze was 50 percent contained Sunday, said park spokeswoman Vickie Mates. Two people sustained minor injuries, she said.

Park officials closed a campground and a portion of Highway 120, anticipating that the fire would spread north toward Tioga Road, the highest elevation route through the Sierra.

About 50 homes in the towns of El Portal and Foresta were under evacuation orders and roads in the area will remain closed through Monday, Mates said.

++++++++++++++++++

Here's an update from the Associated Press:
UPDATED Sunday, Aug. 31, 12:57 p.m.

By RAQUEL MARIA DILLON, Associated Press Writer

LOS ANGELES (AP) - A growing wildfire in the mountains above Los Angeles surged north Sunday, forcing more evacuations and threatening some 12,000 homes.

Residents of the small town of Acton were ordered to evacuate as the 4-day-old blaze headed into the Antelope Valley. The fire spread in all directions, leaving three people burned, destroying at least three homes and forcing thousands to flee.

"The leading edge, the one they're really focused on, is that northern edge. It's moving pretty fast up in that direction," said U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman Randi Jorgenson. "But the fire's growing in all directions. All fronts are going to be areas of concern today."

For the third straight day, humidity was very low and temperatures were expected in the high 90s. Some 2,000 firefighters were battling the blaze.

Mandatory evacuations were in effect for several communities.

More than 55 square miles (142 sq. kilometers) of the western edge of the Angeles National Forest was scorched. The blaze was only 5 percent contained. The cause of the fire was under investigation.

At a news conference at the fire command post, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger praised firefighters for successfully protecting subdivisions in the foothills. The governor urged residents to get out when told to evacuate.

"There were people that did not listen, and there were three people that got burned and got critically injured because they did not listen," Schwarzenegger said.

The injuries occurred Saturday in the evacuation areas - two in the Big Tujunga Canyon area and one off Highway 2 near Mount Wilson, Jorgenson said. They were airlifted to local hospitals. Jorgenson had no further details on their injuries.

The flames moved swiftly along the slopes of the San Gabriel Mountains despite mild winds blowing predominantly in the other direction. The fire traveled 6 to 8 miles (12 to 18 kilometers) overnight and burned as actively during the night as it does during the day, according to Capt. Mike Dietrich, the incident commander for the Forest Service. Dietrich said he had never seen a fire grow so quickly without powerful Santa Ana winds to push it.

The fire line extended about 19 miles (30 kilometers) east to west.

At least three homes deep in the Angeles National Forest were confirmed as destroyed, but firefighters were likely to find others, Dietrich said.

Rob Driscoll and his wife, Beth Halaas, said they lost their house in Big Tujunga Canyon, where fire officials said homes were lost or damaged. By Sunday morning they were desperate for more information and came to the command post to get answers.

"Our neighbors sent us photos of all the other houses that are lost," Halaas said, her voice breaking as her young son nestled his sunburned face in her arms. "We've heard as many as 30 houses burned."

Fire officials assured them that their damage assessment teams were working hard to survey the damage.

Driscoll said 15 of his neighbors who live on private property within the forest were still waiting for word on their homes.

At least four evacuation centers were set up at schools and community centers in the area.

The fire, which broke out Wednesday afternoon, was the largest and most dangerous of several burning around southern and central California and in Yosemite National Park.

A massive plume of smoke could be seen for miles (kilometers) and bits of ash descended on cars as far away as downtown Los Angeles. The regional air quality agency issued a smoke advisory, warning all residents who live near the wildfire to remain indoors and avoid strenuous activity. Officials said air quality in the foothill communities around La Canada Flintridge was unhealthy, bordering on hazardous. People with heart or lung conditions, including asthma, were asked to consider leaving the area.

A major goal was to keep the fire from spreading up Mount Wilson, where many of the region's broadcast and communications antennas and the historic Mount Wilson Observatory are located, officials said. Flames were within 2 miles (3.2 kilometers) of the towers Sunday, fire officials said.

A second fire in the Angeles National Forest was burning several miles to the east in a canyon above the city of Azusa. The 3.4-square-mile (9-sq. kilometer) blaze, which started Tuesday afternoon, was 95 percent contained Sunday. No homes were threatened, and full containment was expected by Monday.

Associated Press Writer Christopher Weber in Los Angeles contributed to this report.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

UPDATED Sunday, Aug. 31, 12:35 p.m.:

The city of Santa Clarita reports the Station Fire does not immediately threaten the Santa Clarita Valley.

Prevailing winds are heading away from the SCV and toward the Acton and Auga Dulce areas.

The Los Angeles County Fire Department has four structure-protection teams, comprised of five engines each, in Sand Canyon as a precaution. Ken Pulskamp, Santa Clarita city manager, is also there.

Golden Valley High School has been set up for evacuees, primarily for Acton and Agua Dulce area residents.

There are no other fires affecting the SCV right now, the city reports.

-- Signal Online Editor Stephen K. Peeples

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UPATED Sunday, Aug. 31, 11 a.m.:
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger visited the Station Fire command post at Hansen Dam this morning to receive a briefing from U.S. Forest Service, Los Angeles County Fire Department, Los Angeles Fire Department and Red Cross officials.

At about 10:40 he spoke to assembled media, lauded the inter-agency coopration, and provided the latest numbers on the fire as it surged north into the San Gebriel Mountains:

* 6,000 homes evacuated
* 1 firefighter injured, not seriously
* 2,200 personnel fighting the fire
* 124 engines
* 12 water-dropping helicopters
* 20 bulldozers

"This fire has its own challenges," Schwarzenegger said. There's no wind but that's very challenging for aerial firefighting because smoke clouds stay above the fire and helicopters don't see where to drop the fire retardant, so it makes it very challenging, especially at night.

"Also what makes this fire very challenging is the very thick brush," he said. "Why is is so thick and so high. 10-20 feet tall? It's because for 60 years there was no fire, and therefore it burns very quickly without the winds. It moves very, very quickly."

Schwarzenegger noted the terrain was also steep and difficult to access. "The firefighters cannot get to those places as quickly which is why helicopters and aircraft have been used to dump fire retardant," he said.

"Flames reach up to 80 to 100 feet, which is also very challenging," he said.

"This is a huge and very dangerous fire that's moving very close to homes and to atructrures and I have been promised that none of the stuctures will be destroyed," Schwarzenegger said.

"But you never know -- they do they best job they can, but this is why it's important to pay close attention to the evacuation orders," he said.

"Essentially the fire burned at will; it went where it wanted to when it wanted to," said Captain Mike Dietrich, the incident commander for the Forest Service. Dietrich said he had never seen a fire grow so quickly without powerful Santa Ana winds to push it.

A massive plume of smoke could be seen for miles (kilometers) and bits of ash descended on cars as far away as downtown Los Angeles. The air quality for cities surrounding the San Gabriel Mountains was deemed unhealthy by the regional air-quality agency.

The fire, which broke out Wednesday afternoon about 3:30, was the largest and most dangerous of several burning around southern and central California and in Yosemite National Park.

More than 55 square miles (142 kilometers) of the western edge of the Angeles National Forest was scorched. The blaze is only 5 percent contained. The fire's cause was under investigation.

-- Signal Online Editor Stephen K. Peeples and Wire Services

+++++++++++++++++++++++++

UPDATED Sunday, Aug. 31, 10:20 a.m.
Fire officials updated the estimated acreage of the Station Fire, which threatens Acton and Soledad Canyon, to more than 35,200 acres this morning as firefighters braced to battle the fire on its northern edge.

The fire, which began Wednesday above La Canada Flintridge - almost due south of Acton on the south side of the San Gabriel Mountains - threatens more than 10,000 homes and 2,000 businesses. Thousands of residents have been evacuated.

The Station Fire's cause is under investivation.

Firefighters are attempting to keep the fire west of Mt. Wilson, south of Highway 14, east of Interstate 5 and north of Foothill Boulevard and Altadena Drive.

Residents of Soledad Canyon, Crown Valley, Aliso Canyon and Acton were told to leave their homes Sunday morning.

An Acton resident said she received a recorded phone message before dawn telling her to evacuate to Highland High School in Palmdale.

Many Acton residents loaded up horses and other animals and left the area, while others waited it out, despite the order to leave.

The evacuation center for Acton-area residents is located at Highland High School, 39055 25th Street West, Palmdale.

Officials with the U.S. Forest Service told residents that horses could be evacuated to Hansen Dam Recreation Area off the 210 Freeway in the San Fernando Valley or to Los Angeles Pierce College in Woodland Hills. There is no room left at the L.A. Equestrian Center.

Smaller animals can be taken to the East Valley Shelter, 13131 Sherman Way, North Hollywood.

As the sun rose through the smoke Sunday, flames were visible on the mountains south of Acton, but the fire appeared to have quieted through the night.

An increase of wind velocity Sunday could change that.

Soledad Canyon Road was shut down from Canyon Country, where it passes under Highway 14 near Shadow Pines, to Acton, where it emerges from the canyon.

Several campgrounds in Soledad Canyon and Thousand Trails in Acton were evacuated.

At least three homes have been burned in the Station Fire, which is 5 percent contained. Full containment isn't expected until Sept. 8.

Residents of Soledad Canyon and Acton were evacuated early Sunday and portions of Soledad Canyon Road were shut down as the Station Fire threatened homes north and east of the Santa Clarita Valley.

The evacuation order is for all residences to the south of Soledad Canyon Road from Highway 14 to Crown Valley Road and all residences on Aliso Canyon Road from Angeles Forest Highway to Soledad Canyon Road.

An Acton resident said she received a recorded phone message before dawn telling her to evacuate to Highland High School in Palmdale.

Many residents loaded up horses and other animals and left the area, while others waited it out, despite the order to leav

The Station Fire threatens some 10,000 homes and 2,000 businesses from La Canada Flintridge to Altadena on the south, and now Acton on the north.

At least three people have been injured (two in the Big Tujunga Canyon and one off Highway 2 near Mt. Wilson) and three homes have been burned in the blaze, which had blackened more than 20,000 acres by Saturday night, and exploded overnight even as winds stayed relatively calm.

-- Signal Staff and Wire Services


+++++++++++++++++++++++++++

UPDATED Saturday, Aug. 30, 11:15 p.m. :
Smoke darkened skies and ash wafted earthward in parts of the Santa Clarita Valley for the second day in a row Saturday as nearby wildfires fouled the atmosphere and presented an increasing threat of blazes spreading into the SCV.

By mid-afternoon, the wind had shifted the haze northeast to loom over Acton, painting the town orange as it stretched nearly from horizon to horizon. The light onshore breezes returned blue skies to many parts of the valley.

The Station Fire, which ignited in La Canada Wednesday, was spreading out of control in all directions by Saturday evening, according to Robert Brady, fire information officer for the U.S. Forest Service. So far, the fire had consumed more than 20,000 acres.

"The fire is going over the Santa Clara divide," Brady said. "We know it's going over by North Fork which is 13 miles east of Sand Canyon. It's not in Santa Clarita Valley now but it could possibly go over and get into Soledad Canyon Road."

U.S. Forest Service crews stationed themselves along parts of Soledad Canyon Road toward Acton.

"We have not physically seen any active fire north of the North Fork ranger station but we're anticipating some movement in that direction," said Battalion Chief Pat Rohaley.

While no fire burned in the Santa Clarita Valley as of 7:30 p.m. Saturday, the California Highway Patrol had ordered three local closures including the Soledad Canyon Road exit off Highway 14; the Agua Dulce Canyon Road exit off Highway 14; and Sand Canyon Road at Placerita Canyon Road heading toward Little Tujunga Canyon Road.

As Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station deputies and CHP officers barricaded Sand Canyon Road at Placerita Canyon Road, area residents asked officials about the potential threat.

"I was driving down to get a sense to see if it is close," said Nina Skorus-Neely, who lives on Sand Canyon Road. "People here have a pretty good evacuation system; (they) can get out quick."

As of 7:30 p.m., fire officials had ordered evacuations in Big Tujunga Canyon, La Canada and some in Glendale but no evacuations had been ordered in the Santa Clarita Valley, Brady said.

The flames of the La Canada fire crept lower down the slopes of the San Gabriel Mountains Saturday despite winds blowing predominantly in the other direction, threatening more than 2,000 homes in the La Canada Flintridge area.

A few homes and about 25 recreational cabins burned but exact numbers were not immediately available, said Forest Service spokesman Gabriel Alvarez.

An evacuation center was set up at La Canada High School and Jackson Elementary School in Altadena.

The fire was the largest and most dangerous of several burning around southern and central California and in Yosemite National Park.

Flames knocked out power to at least 164 residences in La Canada Flintridge Saturday afternoon, according to Southern California Edison.

More than 31 square miles of dry forest was scorched by the fire, which continued to move out in all directions, the most active flanks to the north, deeper into the forest, and east, Quintelier said. The blaze was only 5 percent contained.

At least three residents of Big Tujunga Canyon were burned and airlifted to local hospitals, Quintelier said. The details of their injuries were unknown.

Air crews waged a fierce late afternoon battle against the southeast corner of the fire, burning dangerously close to canyon homes.

"It's difficult for water-dropping aircraft to get in there, but they're still trying," Forest Service spokeswoman Jessica Luna said. Grounded by darkness, the aircraft wil be airborne again at dawn to continue battling the blaze with water and fire-retardant chemicals.

The fire was burning in steep wooded hills adjacent to NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in northern Pasadena. Nearby, Dawn James, 39, a physical therapist, and friend Leah Evans, 39, watched flames roil on the mountainsides from an equestrian park where they had taken two horses from their stables. James lives in the area and her husband stayed up at the house while she watched the horses.

"We always knew it could come. We knew it was a possibility," James said.

Evans said she watched the flames spread as she spent the night in her pickup truck near her horses.

"Through the night, you kind of watch it diminish, and then flare up," Evans said. "It's just amazing to watch, kind of unbelievable."

A thick layer of smoke hovered over the Los Angeles Basin and San Fernando Valley, and officials issued a smoke advisory for communities near the fire. Residents were urged to avoid exertion and seek air-conditioned shelter.

A second fire in the Angeles National Forest was burning several miles to the east in a canyon above the city of Azusa. The 3.4-square-mile blaze, which started Tuesday afternoon, was 85 percent contained Saturday. No homes were threatened, and full containment was expected by Monday.

A wildfire on the Palos Verdes Peninsula on the south Los Angeles County coast was 100 percent contained Saturday afternoon, according to county fire officials. As many as 1,500 people were forced to flee at the height of the fire Thursday night. Six homes were damaged.

Southeast of Los Angeles in Riverside County, a 3½-square-mile fire in a rural area of the San Bernardino National Forest was 10 percent contained.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger declared a state of emergency Friday in Los Angeles and Monterey counties.

-- Signal Staff and Wire Services

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