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Station fire likely to hit historic Mt. Wilson observatory, fire officials say

August 30, 2009 |  5:42 pm


The fire burning in Angeles National Forest is approaching the historic solar observatory and television transmission towers atop Mt. Wilson, according to Los Angeles County fire officials.

The communications towers house transmitters for every major television station in Los Angeles.

“We expect it to get there in the next two to four hours,” said county fire Capt. Mark Savage.

Crews were clearing brush around the structures, but fire officials were not sure if they could leave personnel on the mountain to fight the flames because of the danger and limited escape routes. The fire is less than two miles away.

“It’s a serious situation,” said Bob Shindelar, operations branch director of California Incident Management Team 5. “Is the observatory going to make it? We’re doing everything in our power. But I wouldn’t be surprised if it is impacted by fire today or tomorrow.”

-- Joe Mozingo

Photo: A fire spotting plane is seen flying above Mount Wilson communications towers as the Station Fire approaches critical communications point in the Angeles national Forest on August 30, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. Credit: Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images