Monday, May 14, 2007

Governor and Pols Survey Griffith Park Damage and Tourists Return to Catalina

This morning I came across the Los Angeles Times: Political Muscle Blog written by Robert Salladay. In the blog, he quotes a report by Dana Bartholomew of the LA Daily News:
"'Schwarzenegger, accompanied by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Councilman Tom LaBonge, emerged from his van on the south slope of Griffith Park, directly above a historic nursery saved by firefighters.

'He trudged slowly, thoughtfully, silently, inhaling the pungent remains of what had once been lush ceonothus, toyon and sage.

'For nearly 100 feet, he walked, looking at scorched earth and listening to LaBonge's much-repeated description of how 'the fire danced like Mick Jagger on stage - boom, boom, boom!' How fire roared Tuesday toward Loz Feliz, threatening such mansions as the Lautner home once featured in 'L.A. Confidential.' How the fire had turned around and raced up Mt. Hollywood, torching Dante's View and its tree-lined garden. And how water-dropping helicopters had worked through the night to save the day.

'The governor then praised the work of firefighters who had coordinated their efforts to save some of the city's most famous landmarks, including the Griffith Observatory and the L.A. Zoo.

' 'This is amazing,' Schwarzenneger said, looking toward downtown L.A. in the distance. 'It (the fire) actually stopped there. This is the work of the firefighters. If you think about it, we had this really incredible fire ... and it didn't take everything out. Then he pointed to a partially burned oak and added: 'This is "
Schwarzenneger is right to praise the firefighters. Catalina is dangerous terrain for fighting fires. Though, it seems as though the locals treated the crews well.

But those fighting the Catalina fire may long remember this blaze — and not just because it was a life-or-death struggle against the elements.

Tired they may be, after three days of battling the inferno that at one point loomed ominously over the resort town of Avalon and its picturesque harbor. But with the blaze now well in hand, some firefighters christened it with a new name — the Ten-Pound fire.

That's how much weight the firefighters jokingly said they've gained, thanks to the generosity of island merchants. Instead of their usual spartan fare while manning the fire lines, they feasted on tri-tip steak Saturday night.

Still, even as the firefighters got a little relaxation, the narrowness of the resort island's escape from catastrophe was written into the hills framing the town as the sun rose Sunday morning. They were an ashy, dusky gray. Burned evergreens drooped lifelessly, and the thick carpet of cactus and scrub that once covered the hillsides was charred to blackened stalks.

One home was lost in the fire, along with six out-buildings back in the brush.
And finally:
Elsewhere on Catalina on Monday, life was continuing to return to normal. Tourists were trickling back to the island, and firefighters were leaving. Many left with leis made of sea shells or bright ribbons around their necks.

Debbie Avellana, owner of Debbie's Island Deli, stood by the dock to give the leis to the firefighters "as a token of my gratitude and the overall feelings of the people on this island."
I bet the next time things turn dangerous on Catalina, the firefighters will not forget how well they were treated.

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