Wednesday, May 9

Hundreds Flee

Griffith Park is on fire.

My son called me from Merced yesterday afternoon, worried that the Griffith Park fire might be affecting me and my nearby neighborhood. Earlier, I listened to radio news reports of "a fire in Griffith Park," and I expected to hear another news report a few hours later that the blaze had been extinguished. Almost 24 hours later, the park is still on fire and wreaking havoc on the dry, brushy hillsides.

Last night, I worried that the animals in the LA Zoo would be destroyed and thanks to the efforts of firefighters and zoo workers, the animals are safe. Homes in Los Feliz, the Greek Theater, the new Observatory, the Merry-Go-Round and children's playground have been saved. Dante's View has been lost.

I've visited Dante's View and the other volunteer community garden, Amir's Garden, a few times. They are well-loved hiking destinations and beautiful examples of the power of an individual's passion for plants and these men connected and resonated with the community. Whenever I've hiked up to these gardens, volunteers were busy maintaining them while enjoying the view of the city and the sunshine. I have no doubt Dante's View will be rebuilt and continue to be a source of beauty and shared joy.

LA Mayor, Villaraigosa, is now on the radio and so far, the fire is about fifty percent contained and expected containment is within another twenty-four hours. Over 800 acres have been burned, one man partially burned, no structures have been burned. Wild animals, such a coyotes, raccoons, possum, have been wandering down from the barren hillsides for months. More of these animals, displaced by the fires, will be on our city streets.

It's early May, and fire season has already started because of the extreme drought. I keep waiting for the mayor, fire chief, someone, to outline a mandatory water conservation and fire safety plan. Now is the time to drive home the seriousness of these drought conditions and to guide the the community through this crisis with conservation and safety awareness/mandate programs.