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Firefighters bedding down near Mt. Wilson

August 31, 2009 | 12:51 am

At the bottom of Mt. Wilson Road, firefighters bedded down in the ash-flecked open air, the forest pitch black except for the flames lighting ridgelines in the near distance.

The head of the fire appeared to be across a broad and deep canyon from the Wilson compound. Smaller flareups could be seen closer to the thicket of communications towers alongside the observatory, where five engine crews were posted overnight.

The blaze had already raced up to the winding stretch of Angeles Crest Highway that leads to the Wilson road, and the lanes remained barely passable in sections.

Road signs had melted, guardrails were burned free of their wood moorings, and the switchbacks were choked with fire-loosened boulders and scorched tree limbs.  

-- Paul Pringle at Mt. Wilson