Sunday, April 27, 2008

Press release: City of Sierra Madre - Santa Anita fire

Official Santa Anita fire update from City of Sierra Madre, 4-27-08, 14:30 pm - Link

Sunday, April 27, 2008, Update 2:30 PM

All Sierra Madre schools, public and private, have been cancelled for Monday, April 28, 2008.

Evacuations are to remain in place through Monday, April 27, 2008 at 6:00 a.m. provided that the fire conditions remain steady. All residents are still strongly urged to leave their homes if they are in the mandatory evacuation area.

Background – new information in bold
The Santa Anita Fire began on Saturday, April 26th has currently burned under 400 acres of wildland urban interface. The only structure damaged at this time is a small out building off of Lotus Lane.

Two firefighters have been injured, one was stung by a bee yesterday afternoon; the other strained his knee working in the steep terrain.

The fire is 5% contained and we are looking at 4-5 days for full containment.

Approximately 1000 people have been evacuated from Oak Crest Drive across Carter Avenue to East Mira Monte Avenue, continuing down Mountain Trail Avenue, across Grandview Avenue to Santa Anita Avenue.

The American Red Cross has opened a shelter at the Hart Park House, 222 W. Sierra Madre Blvd. The number for the American Red Cross is 626-799-0841. A second shelter at the Congregational Church, 170 W. Sierra Madre Blvd. in Sierra Madre, will be available after 4 pm.

The Sierra Madre City Council held an emergency meeting at 12:10 a.m. on Sunday, April 27th to declare the City in a state of emergency.

Air support began again Sunday morning at approximately 6:30 am. We anticipate having 2 helicopters, 3 air tankers, and over 400 firefighters on the ground. There are over 500 logistics and operations people

The difficulty of this fire is the terrain which is steep and difficult to access. Additionally, some of these areas have not burned in over 40 years. So far, the weather has been on our side, and although there will still be intense heat today, we expect little wind and rising humidity.

A wedding party of approximately 50 people was separated 3 ½ miles from the Chantry Flats Ranger Station. The party had driven up Saturday night to camp and celebrate the nuptials. Upon receiving word that the party was still in the mountains, Sierra Madre Search and Rescue lead the evacuation operation coordinating with LA County Sheriffs. It took five helicopter trips to take the party back to their cars at the Ranger Station where Los Angeles County Sheriffs escorted everyone back down the mountain safely. There were no reported injuries during this operation.

We are asking residents and visitors to stay off the streets, keep areas clear for fire department access and to stay attentive. Immediate updates can be found on and SMTV3, channel 3 on Time Warner.

For more information or media updates, please call 626-355-7135. The next media briefing is schedule for 6:00 pm (1800 hours) at the east side of Sierra Vista Park, 611 E. Sierra Madre Blvd. Sierra Madre.

Overnight Accomodations

Although the City of Sierra Madre and the American Red Cross have provided ample places for evacuees to stay tonight, we understand that many residents are choosing to stay in local hotels and motels. The following hotels had rooms available as of 2:30 PM, Sunday, April 27, 2008:

Courtyard by Marriott*
700 West Huntington Drive, Monrovia

Santa Anita Inn*
130 West Huntington Drive, Arcadia

Motel 6
225 Colorado Place, Arcadia

*Please state that you are a Sierra Madre fire evacuee to receive discounted room rates.

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****REMINDER**** Every fire has the ability to be catastrophic. The wildland fire management environment has profoundly changed. Growing numbers of communities, across the nation, are experiencing longer fire seasons; more frequent, bigger, and more severe, fires are a real threat. Be careful with all campfires and equipment.

"I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them the real facts, and beer." --Abraham Lincoln

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