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Firefighters still at top of Mt. Wilson

August 30, 2009 | 11:19 pm

At the top of Mt. Wilson just after 10 p.m., about 25 firefighters were clearing the area around the buildings and towers as they prepared for the fire to arrive.

Heavy ash filled the air at the deserted site and smoke came up from the canyons. There was a breeze blowing through the towers and bunker-type buildings. Aside from firefighters, there was nobody else in sight and no one responded to knocks on doors at the buildings.

U.S. Forest Service Fuels Battalion Chief Larry Peabody said the firefighters would stay in place no matter what.

“Their safety zone is where they are,” he said. “It would be more dangerous for them to try to evacuate down the road.”

The flames could be seen down the mountain, immediately below the observatory. They were racing toward the peak, especially across the canyon between Angeles Crest Highway and Mt. Wilson.

Another group of firefighters rested on the ground at the base of Mt. Wilson Road. They had food, water and equipment on hand and were ready to fight the flames.

-- Paul Pringle at Mt. Wilson