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                      THE CGC COMMUNICATOR
                            CGC #952
                  Thursday, September 10, 2009
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                Robert F. Gonsett, W6VR,  Editor
                <cgc (at) cgc333.connectnet.com>
    Copyright 2009, Communications General® Corporation (CGC)
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  LETTER FROM THE TOP OF MT. WILSON -- A "REAL QUIET DAY"
  The fire crews are ready for anything here at the top
of Mt. Wilson.  There are hoses everywhere, but from my vantage
point as a broadcast engineer, this was a real quiet day.  I'm
told that the brush is burning slower than expected and that's
a good thing.  There aren't a bunch of flare ups and the flames
are well under control.
  I'm not a fireman, but it seems to me that the controlled
burn really isn't a "burn-out" (where trees and ground clutter
both burn).  Today's burns just seemed to impact the underbrush.
Ping pong balls were used for part of the ignition because (I'm
told) the balls float down through the trees and ignite the
ground clutter.
  The controlled burns, which they thought would end today,
will continue into Friday because the material is burning so
slowly.
  I understand that some heli-torching may be used in select
areas tomorrow where officials want to burn both trees and
underbrush.  Heli-torching (dropping flaming fluid from a
cannister suspended far below a helicopter) causes trees to
burn from top down, so it's very different from the ping pong
ball approach.
  Some engineers have been able to gain access to Wilson to
work their normal shifts.  I had no trouble getting in during
OFF-HOURS by doing the following:
  o  being properly dressed in fire-protective gear with my
  fire shelter on the passenger seat where it can be seen,
  o  explaining my job and why I needed access,
  o  presenting my employee ID badge and drivers license,
  o  explaining that I have been through media brush fire
  safety training, and
  o  always being respectful to the officers on duty.
  If they told me to leave, I'd leave.  I'd never think of
  "busting the line" and would never enter a blocked area
  without the okay from the road block officers.
  Hopefully tomorrow will be another good day.  After the
controlled burns are finished (maybe Saturday), the "hard shut"
policy on Red Box Road might be lifted and I can go home.
  By the way, the domestic water pump is running again and
we are refilling the supply tank.  Things are looking up.
  Dennis Doty, Mt. Wilson
  September 10, 2009,  9:27 PM PDST
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  ENGINEERS ARE MAKING IT UP TO WILSON REGULARLY
  A "legacy call letter" TV maintenance engineer has had
"minimally challenged" access to Wilson every day since last
Tuesday (when the fire cleared the immediate area).
  Using the "Big Tujunga" route, he has been confronted by
a lone CHP officer at Sunland to whom he says:  "Here are my
credentials.  I am a television maintenance engineer assigned
to Mt. Wilson.  I am not a camera-person or a reporter; I'm
required to maintain our station's transmitters."
  He has been allowed to pass every day.
  On one occasion - yesterday - he was additionally stopped
at the junction of Big Tujunga and Angeles Forest and asked
to produce a Nomex suit, which he did have in his vehicle.
  His schedule is typically 4PM to Midnight.
  Your excellent reporting of the access situation to
Mt. Wilson is very much appreciated; however, it appears that
reality differs substantially from the "no access" line that
officialdom is promoting.
  Anonymous, Los Angeles
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  LONG RANGE PLANNING FOR MT. WILSON FIRE SAFETY
  L.A. Times article, well worth reading:
  http://tinyurl.com/WilsonFirePlanning
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  INCIWEB ARTICLE
  "The Station Fire is the largest in Los Angeles County's
recorded history and the largest in the history of the Angeles
National Forest, which was established in 1892 as the Timber
Land Reserve and later changed to Angeles National Forest..."
  http://inciweb.org/incident/news/article/1856/9512/
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