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Controlling Our Nature

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Latest News: The Station Fire could be Human Caused. 09/03/09


Daisuke Yamaguchi works over at Applied Minds in Glendale, which makes his commute from his home in La Canada Flintridge a short ride. From his home he has a great view of Angeles Crest; most days its sky, dirt, trees, rocks, clouds and sun. Like the daily cup of coffee, he doesn't expect much change from one day to the next. That changed yesterday with the Station Fire.

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In the last 3 days we have had fires in Azusa and Rancho Palos Verdes and since yesterday the La Canada Flintridge/Station fire. Daisuke posted his photographs of the La Canada fires on his Facebook, and it brought back memories of the Griffith Park fires, and the anxiety I had about it making over the crest over to my street; last night I was reminded of this by seeing the growing crown of flames over in La Canada from Los Feliz. He took these photographs are from the beginning of the fire in the late afternoon to the evening.


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I watched the billowing clouds of smoke from my vantage point above Los Feliz Blvd. The plume reached across the Hollywood Hills, like the flowing red hair of a mythological creature. The smell of burnt wood drifted over the hills, stinging my eyes and the smoke cast an eerie red glow over the ground. The fires were far away enough not to bring damage to my neighborhood, but in a blink of an eye, I could be packing up my belongings and heading out. I watch the smoke with a sense of urgency, one foot primed to make the running leap home, the other anchored to the ground in awe of the immense red cloud floating above me.


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Fire purifies, we use it to cook, to cremate, to warm ourselves - as long as we can control it we are safe, but once it becomes its own master, we are at war with it. We desire to control what gives us life, and when it decides to have its decide its own destiny we destroy it. As I watch the white flakes of ash settle on my trees, I see Human nature is to be feared more than fire.


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Below: Images from Saturday and Sunday. The two below were taken from Daisuke's rooftop in Altadena-about a 1/4 mile from JPL (photos by Daisuke Yamaguchi)


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Colorado looking East from Orange Grove in Pasadena.

Images: Daisuke Yamaguchi

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