Above: Los Angeles County Map (Reference) with Station Fire Extent
Above: Los Angeles County Map (Thematic)
Within the context of the two maps I have presented, The Station Fire seems almost like fate could not intervene with the raw biological resources available for it to burn so widely and for so long. Indeed, this fire was one of the largest fires in modern times (dailynews.com, 11-24-09) for Los Angeles County and carved out a significant amount of the heart of the county.
Why I chose to demonstrate my thematic map as such, with pre-established Fire Readiness areas along with fuel rank, is to illustrate that this fire ought to have been no surprise to anyone. That it started at the peak of the dry season also surprised no one, given the Southern California is quite susceptible to wildfires due to arid conditions alone. Indeed, these fires, as well as this poorly written report, were are quite obvious. That they happened in the midst of Fire Preparedness zones and engulfed 11 such fire preparedness stations demonstrates the long standing occurrence of wildfires in the inland, elevated zones of Los Angeles County
Indeed, the area that actually burned in the fire was not populated. No one with any knowledge of a chaparral (Shin Nov. 23) would build within what came to be the Station Fire perimeter. Southern Californians are generally more privy to the effects of Wildfires, and the State itself hunkers down for fire season as demonstrated by seasonal firefighting hiring. (CA Dept. of Forestry Website.)
Further demonstrating the obviousness of this fire are the areas which are presently urbanized (per my reference map) that flank the perimeter. It is difficult, if not just for general public services (plumbing, et al), to exist within highly topographic areas, as well as for housing and urban development to flourish in these aresas. That hospitals are a fair demonstrator of urbanization is why I chose for them to be represented on my thematic map; to demonstrate the lack of density in the fire zone due to the available knowledge of these conditions
What I am trying to preclude with these layers of juxtaposing urbanization and low density, is the notion that even though the media hyped this fire, along with public officials, that relatively few people were directly affected by this fire. That the cities of La Cañada-Flintridge and Altadena (NYtimes.com 9-2-09) located on the flanks of the fire were affected added to the hype. The lesson to be learned from these maps and this fire is that people who choose to build their homes in high risk burn areas and that leaders who organize communities within these regions take on the extreme risk of damaging the longterm wellbeing and prosperity of their own communities.
“CAL FIRE – Fire Protection Careers – Seasonal Firefighter Hiring.” CAL FIRE Home. 2 Nov. 2009. Web. 25 Nov. 2009. <http://www.fire.ca.gov/about/about_careers_fireprotection_seasonal.php>.
“California Fire Is Pushed Back.” The New York Times – Breaking News, World News & Multimedia. 2 Sept. 2009. Web. 24 Nov. 2009. <http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/03/us/03fires.html>.
Shin, Michael. “Geography 7: Cartographic Conventions.” Geography 7 Week 9 Lecture 1. Kinsey Pavillion, Los Angeles. 23 Nov. 2009. Lecture.
“Station Fire report: Don’t take weapons out of the arsenal – LA Daily News.” Home – LA Daily News. 24 Nov. 2009. Web. 25 Nov. 2009. <http://www.dailynews.com/opinions/ci_13859790>.