THE CGC COMMUNICATOR
                             CGC #961
                  Thursday, September 17, 2009
                Robert F. Gonsett, W6VR,  Editor
                <cgc (at) cgc333.connectnet.com>
    Copyright 2009, Communications General® Corporation (CGC)
  I'm back on Mt. Wilson today and noted some large flareups
on the northeast side well within the otherwise burned out area.
I was some distance away but would estimate some of the flames to
be in the 20 foot plus range on about four hot spots, and there
were about a dozen little hot spots.
  When I arrived before sunup, we had clear mountain air.  As
I write this, it has become VERY SMOKEY on the top of the hill.
Smoke is coming from the north/east and staying very low (under
100 feet).  It is interesting as the smoke spills over the hill
into the LA foothills, it is hanging low to the ground....
  Dennis Doty, Mt. Wilson
  September 17, 2009, 7:05 AM PDST
  On my way home this evening, I noted about a dozen engines
spread out with the crews 1000+ feet away putting out hot spots
along Redbox Road and on the north side of Wilson with small 3/4"
hose lines.  It looks like they are keeping a close check on the
hot areas.  I am sure the upcoming Santa Ana winds may have
something to do with it too.
  Dennis Doty, Mt. Wilson
  September 17, 2009, 5:25 PM PDST
  According to Steven Conroy, Manager of Media Relations for
Southern California Edison (SCE), his company has not yet been
able to inspect the entire Broadcast 33 kV line that was
apparently severely damaged in the Station Fire and no longer
provides backup power to Mt. Wilson.  Steven indicated that the
line will be rebuilt and given priority.  Much more will be
known in two weeks or so, once inspections are complete.
  CGC asked if the new circuit would be underground.  Almost
certainly not was his reply.  The terrain is very steep and even
when level ground is involved, the cost of undergrounding is
about 10X over the cost of overhead.  Would metal poles be used
this time around?  Possibly so, but that's not known yet.
  Do look for the 33 kV line to be out of service "for a
substantial length of time."  Coordinations with the Forest
Service and other governing agencies will be required.  All told,
SCE has over 800 poles destroyed in the Station Fire area -- not
just the Broadcast 33 kV line.  Steven can be reached at
(626) 695-7843 or at steven.conroy (at) sce.com.
  [CGC telcon with Steven Conroy September 17, 2009]
                          MORE FIRE NEWS
  o  Area photographs taken by Observatory staff September 16,
  o  Coming dangers: Flash floods and mud slides with 35 MPH
  o  InciWeb overview of the Station Fire:
  o  Observatory Webcam:
  o  Mt. Wilson Observatory newsletter:
  Thursday, 17 Sep 09, 9:20 am PDT - I spoke with Dave last
night who reported on his experience driving back up the Angeles
Crest after being off the mountain for two days.  On the stretch
of the road from La Canada to the Clear Creek turnoff, about
three-fourths of the guard rail vertical supports are in place
with virtually none yet repaired from Clear Creek to Red Box.
This repair strategy is not unexpected since there are many
hundreds of commuters a day who connect to the lower portion of
the Crest at Clear Creek with far fewer coming from deeper in the
mountains.  Dave and I both agree that while the Palmdale commute
route might reopen soon, it will be weeks before the public is
allowed beyond Clear Creek and on up to the Mount Wilson -
Red Box Road.
  This schedule has been confirmed by a Caltrans official who
told Dave that before the road is re-opened, public safety must
be assured by the installation of new guard rails, replacement of
burned-out regulatory signs, and the stabilization of certain
steep slopes most likely to collapse onto the roadway.  It may
be as long as four to six weeks before this level of repair has
been achieved....
  Dave observed a dozen or so centers of smoke on the north
slope of the mountain from Red Box to the Observatory including
one immediately on the road side at mile marker 3.85.  These are
smoldering remains of the wildfire and are probably harmless so
long as we are free of Santa Anna winds, which could arrive at
any time.  Fire crews appear on the mountain daily....
  I wanted to touch on something that hasn't been mentioned yet.
I have been getting the mail from the La Canada post office every
few days and delivering it for everyone on Mt. Wilson/Harvard.
The post office told me that they are still not allowed up the
hill due to the road conditions and it could be like that for a
while.  I could not get an answer about when regular mail service
will resume.  I have been contacted by FedEx to pick up and
deliver some packages for them as well.
  I also wanted to let you know how much your newsletter
has meant to us over the past couple of weeks.  I personally
mentioned you in a thank you on my Website.  If you have a minute
to read it, please do.  It's the blog at the top of the page.
  Larry Lopez, Angeles Crest Services, Mt. Wilson
  acsmtwilson5710 (at) aol.com
                        CLOSING THOUGHTS
  Communications General Corp. (CGC) is ending its 24/7
coverage of the Station Fire at this time in order to turn
our attention to a number of pressing projects.  If monumental
changes occur on Wilson, we may issue special newsletters to
cover those situations.  Please give us a call at (760) 723-
2700 should something significant occur.
  Mt. Wilson is still in fire danger.  There were some flare
ups today (see above) and shifting winds could bring new dangers.
Hopefully the professional firefighters on hand - along with
air resources at the ready - will be able to deal with any
critical issues.
  Thanks again to those who contributed so much to our
reporting efforts.  It was truly an Act of God that Wilson
was not swept up in a firestorm.
  While past CGC Communicators are always available at the
URL below courtesy of our good friends at Bext Corporation,
the newsletters dealing with the Station Fire are being archived
into a single file thanks to the efforts of Robert Sudock.  This
way, you can read the whole story end-to-end or do word searches
on the file -- one-stop shopping if you will.
  We plan to announce the Web address for Bob's master file
in our next regularly scheduled newsletter.  Meantime, here
is the Bext address where recent newsletters are archived:
                           MORE THANKS
  Your newsletters have been spectacular, especially Dennis'
reports from the top of the mountain.  Many of us with facilities
on Wilson are not allowed to comment to the 'press' because of
company policies but your newsletters helped us no end.
  Thank you!
  Bob, an incredible effort in journalistic excellence!
  Well Done!
  Mike Tosch, ESPN-KSPN-710 / Radio Disney KDIS-1110, L.A.
  You have done an outstanding newsgathering job to keep
us up to date on the Mt. Wilson fire.  Your efforts through
your excellent newsletter are very much appreciated.
  John Marino
  Vice President, Science & Technology
  National Association of Broadcasters
  Washington DC
                         A BIT OF LEVITY
  September 16, 2009:  From Mark Flath, Department of Homeland
  "Myself and a couple people from my office will be at
  Mt. D [Disappointment] tomorrow pulling off antennas and
  brackets.  Visitors are welcome but you must bring a new
  building or equipment as a visit gift."
  September 17, 2009:  From Ralph Ortiz, Univision:
  Be careful of what you wish for or you may wind up with
  a dozen high power analog TV transmitters, including mine.
  Regarding Friday's Mt. Wilson "explosion" that you've read
about, there is a bit more to the story.
  Right after the shock wave passed, a co-worker called me
on Wilson and asked if something big had blown up.  I said I
thought some fuel tanks must have exploded.  Then there was dead
silence on the line.  Then I said, "Just kidding  -- just
  I explained the situation with the shock wave coming
from the Space Shuttle and we both had a good laugh.  Nothing
like a bit of levity at what might have been a very dark hour.
  Cheers,  Dennis Doty
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