Station Fire (2009)

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This article is about the 2009 wildfire in California. For 2003 Rhode Island nightclub fire, see The Station nightclub fire.
Station Fire
Pyrocumulus Cloud Station Fire 082909.jpg
Pyrocumulus cloud from the Station Fire, seen from North Hollywood
Location Angeles National Forest, Flintridge, California
Coordinates 34°15′04″N 118°11′42″W / 34.251°N 118.195°W / 34.251; -118.195Coordinates: 34°15′04″N 118°11′42″W / 34.251°N 118.195°W / 34.251; -118.195
Date(s) February 8, 2009 (2009-26-08) – October 16, 2009 (2009-10-16)
Burned area 160,577 acres (650 km2)
Cause Arson
  • 89 residences
  • 120 other structures
Fatalities 2 firefighters
Station Fire (2009) is located in southern California
Station Fire (2009)

The Station Fire started in the Angeles National Forest near the U.S. Forest Service ranger station on the Angeles Crest Highway on August 26, 2009.[3][4] Two firefighters, Captain Tedmund Hall and Firefighter Specialist Arnie Quinones, were killed on August 30 when their fire truck plunged off a cliff as they tried to set backfires to slow the blaze.[5] The blaze threatened 12,000 structures in the National Forest and the nearby communities of La Cañada Flintridge, Pasadena, Glendale, Acton, La Crescenta, Littlerock and Altadena, as well as the Sunland and Tujunga neighborhoods of the City of Los Angeles.[6] Many of these areas faced mandatory evacuations as the flames drew near, but as of September 6, all evacuation orders were lifted.[7] The Station Fire burned on the slopes of Mount Wilson, threatening numerous television, radio and cellular telephone antennas on the summit, as well as the Mount Wilson Observatory, which includes several historically significant telescopes and multimillion-dollar astronomical facilities operated by UCLA, USC, UC Berkeley and Georgia State University.[8] A 40-mile (64-kilometer) stretch of the Angeles Crest Highway was closed until 2010 due to guardrail and sign damage, although the pavement remained largely intact.[9]


On September 3, officials announced that the Station Fire was caused by arson and that a homicide investigation had been initiated because of the deaths of the firefighters involved. Investigators discovered a substance at the fire's point of origin which they believe may have accelerated the flames.[10] The two firefighters, assigned to a fire inmate hand crew camp (jointly operated by the Los Angeles County Fire Department and California Department of Corrections[11]), had been searching for a safe escape zone to help evacuate the camp's inmate crews who were being forced to evacuate due to the Station Fire threatening the camp.[12] As of September 15, $93.8 million (US) had been spent fighting the fire at 91% contained with full containment by September 19.[13] It was 100% contained at 7:00 pm PST on Friday, October 16, 2009, due to moderate rainfall. Property owners and concerned citizens are demanding a formal Congressional investigation as to why the U.S. Forest Service did not contain the fire within the first 48 hours when it was manageable.[citation needed] At 160,557 acres (649.75 km2), the Station Fire is the 10th largest in modern California history,[4][14] and the largest wildfire in the modern history of Los Angeles County, passing the 105,000-acre (164 sq mi; 425 km2) Clampitt Fire of September 1970.[15]



  1. ^ "Station Fire". CAL FIRE. Retrieved 20 August 2015. 
  2. ^ "InciWeb: Station Fire". InciWeb. Retrieved 21 October 2016. 
  3. ^ "New fire breaks out near Angeles Crest Highway; forces road closure". Pasadena Star-News. August 26, 2009. Retrieved September 3, 2009. 
  4. ^ a b "Station Fire". InciWeb (United States Forest Service). September 4, 2009. Archived from the original on September 4, 2009. Retrieved September 5, 2009. 
  5. ^ "Report cites poor communications, flawed decisions in two Station fire deaths". Los Angeles Times. April 30, 2010. Retrieved May 3, 2016. 
  6. ^ "Station Fire Evening Update Aug. 31, 2009". InciWeb (United States Forest Service). August 31, 2009. Retrieved September 3, 2009. 
  7. ^ "Station Fire Morning Update Sept. 8, 2009". InciWeb (United States Forest Service). September 8, 2009. Archived from the original on September 30, 2009. Retrieved September 8, 2009. 
  8. ^ Knoll, Corinna; Becerra, Hector (August 31, 2009). "TV, cellphone signals from Mt. Wilson at risk". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 3, 2009. 
  9. ^ Weikel, Dan (September 4, 2009). "Angeles Crest Highway closed indefinitely because of fire". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 5, 2009. 
  10. ^ Winton, Richard (September 4, 2009). "Substance found near Station fire ignition point is key evidence in arson probe". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 5, 2009. 
  11. ^
  12. ^,0,
  13. ^ Station Fire Update Sept. 15. InciWeb.
  14. ^ "20 Largest California Wildland Fires (By Acreage Burned)" (PDF). California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. September 3, 2009. Archived (PDF) from the original on September 2, 2009. Retrieved September 5, 2009. 
  15. ^ Bloomekatz, Ari B. (September 2, 2009). "Station fire is largest in L.A. County's modern history". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 5, 2009.