Just a quick note about very relevant current events. Last week on Wednesday, a wildfire started a few miles away from JPL, up the Angeles Crest Highway. This ‘Station Fire’ has since grown to be huge. The main JPL campus (on Oak Grove) was closed over the weekend, and the fire line got quite close to here over the weekend – within a mile or so. But that part of the fire boundary was contained, and the active burning is not so close to the main JPL campus anymore, so it’s out of direct danger. Still, the Oak Grove part of the lab was closed for most people (like me) on Monday because of air quality concerns.
Things went back to normal here on Tuesday, but the air quality is still pretty bad. I’d estimate less than a mile of visibility this morning, looking to the East.
But that doesn’t mean that things are over. The current estimated boundary size is 140,150 acres (over 200 square miles!), and while JPL is safe, other areas are being threatened. This includes residential communities, as well as the Mt. Wilson communications center and the observatory. There has been a lot of work that has gone into protecting Mt. Wilson, from laying down fire retardant to back burning to get rid of fuel that the wildfire could use to jump to the facilities on the mountain top. Apparently things are looking somewhat up as far as keeping the facilities safe, but it’s not over yet. The towercam on the 150 ft solar telescope went offline yesterday afternoon, so we can’t directly see what’s going on up there.
Still, if you’re inclined to follow what’s going on, the incident website is here.