THE CGC COMMUNICATOR
                            CGC #947
                  Wednesday, September 9, 2009
                Robert F. Gonsett, W6VR,  Editor
                <cgc (at) cgc333.connectnet.com>
    Copyright 2009, Communications General® Corporation (CGC)
  Wednesday mid morning:
  Two controlled burns (Backfires) are planned to remove
vegetation near the top of Mt. Wilson so as to protect the
area from a possible burn-over.
  Mt. Wilson is far from out of danger.  Many hot spots and
smoldering areas in inaccessible terrain remain down-slope on
the north side of the Mountain.  Given the low humidity and hot
weather, any of these could kindle into a major threat to
Wilson.  The controlled burns will mitigate this hazard.
  One burn will be a crescent shaped area northeast of Red
Box road, burning up to the roadway.  Crews with hoseline are
placed along the road and retardant has been heavily applied
to the vegetation up-slope from the road.  Helicopters will
be on hand for additional control if needed.
  The other burn will be along and to the north of Newcomb
ridge.  This is a ridge running from Newcomb Peak at the N.E.
corner of the MW Observatory property to Newcomb Pass a few
miles eastward.  This ridge has long been maintained as a fire
break and much hard work has been done by hand crews in the
last week to improve it.  The burn will cover a rather large
area below the ridgeline and the west fork of the San Gabriel
  Obviously during the burning operation Red Box road will
be impassible.  No one other than fire personnel, the Observatory
Superintendent and perhaps Larry Lopez will be allowed to remain
on the mountain.  These two men remain at the request of the fire
boss because of their knowledge of the working of the wells and
other water supply issues.  Also they have been equipped with
protective garb.
  These firefighters have done a Herculean effort to save
our sites, so please, please honor their requests to keep clear
of the area.
  Rumor has it that some engineers have been allowed past road
blocks and made it to the mountain.  Keep in mind that the area
is still quite unsafe, and being on-site without the firefighters
knowing your whereabouts puts one in great peril if things go
wrong.  If, after the burn is done and you make it past roadblocks,
do contact the fire operations people at the Chara Array office
next to the 100-inch telescope to let them know where you will
be and check in again when you leave.  If they tell you to leave,
please respect them for what they have done and the difficulty
of the on-going job.  "Cooperate" is the operative word here!
  If a station is actually off the air, call me on my cell,
818-383-7753.  I am able to contact the fire boss and see if
some special arrangement can be made to handle that emergency.
  Very hazardous travel due to constant rock fall.  The fire
has destroyed the brush and trees that stabilized the hillsides,
causing rock to come loose.  Some large rock is falling from great
heights.  Also, a major avalanche rock slide is possible anytime.
Talking your way past the road block is really a bad idea.   Take
the extra time to go the long way around if you must attempt a
trip up.  Word is that Upper Big Tjunga Canyon road has been good,
though at times it has been accessible only from Palmdale, rather
than also from Sunland.  That route is closer to the active fire,
so use great caution.
  There is some talk that the Toll road may be opened for
access and may remain the best route for some time to come.
I have absolutely no official info on that.
  Bottom line is the less we attempt to get to Wilson, the better
willing the authorities will be to cooperate.  Even when access is
available, it should only be used for the most essential need.
Let's not burden these crews to whom we owe so much.  The U.S.
Forest Service has brought in crews from as far as Georgia!
  Tony Neece
  President, Mt. Wilson Fire Safe Council
  September 9, 2009  --  2:45 AM PDST
  Following is word from the Mt. Wilson Observatory
  Wednesday, 9 Sep 09, 6:55 am PDT - The mountain temperature
is 61 this morning, and a marine layer has lapped up to Mount
Wilson, obscuring the LA basin.  The wind at this altitude is
from the east.  I don't know if the wind along the burn line is
also easterly, but that could affect the decision to light the
back fire.
  The only fire fighters on the mountain thus far are the
Helenas who, I learned after chatting with a couple who were
packing up their bedrolls, returned to the summit from their
work on the fire line about 9 o'clock last night.
  More on today's planned burn operations is posted at:
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