Friday, September 4, 2009
Station Fire Decalred Arson!
From the Wall Street Journal
The Station fire raging in the mountains east of Los Angeles was caused by arson, the U.S. Forest Service said Thursday.
Teams of forensic investigators had spent the past two days combing the area believed to be the fire's origin, looking for clues.
The area has been cordoned off with yellow tape and deemed a crime scene.
Last Sunday, two firefighters died while battling the blaze when their truck overturned, falling more than 800 feet, as they tried to escape the flames.
After the cause of the fire was ruled to be arson, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said that it had begun a homicide investigation in relation to those two deaths.
Though firefighters have been able to contain 38% of the fire, up from 28% a day earlier, and have successfully shielded many of the most populated nearby communities, the blaze is expected to burn for close to another week.
The fire has consumed close to 150,000 acres, or about 234 square miles, making it the largest fire on record in Los Angeles County.
The fire began on Aug. 26, and has cost about $3 million a day to fight.
Much of that cost came from an air assault, involving multiple air tankers that blanketed portions of the fire's perimeter with fire retardant and water.
The evacuation has been lifted on 6,400 households and people returned to their homes, though officials were concerned about one community that may still be at risk.
At least 64 structures were consumed by the blaze, making the damage to property relatively light, considering the size and intensity of the fire.