Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Burn Hollywood, Burn...

Haven't I used this title for a post recently? Maybe, but that's because for the third time in as many months, the Hollywood Hills have gone up in flames.

There was a little one that only residents noticed, and there was a bigger one that the world noticed, because when fire rages behind the iconic Hollywood sign, folks think the end of the world is near. Why? Because that's what they've seen in the movies. You know Los Angeles has been destroyed if the Hollywood sign goes down.

Tonight is a rager behind the Griffith Observatory, a much more beautiful symbol of LA. And it's been in the movies too! (That's where James Dean gets into trouble in Rebel Without A Cause, ditto for the crime fighting gals in Charlie's Angels.) The fire started this afternoon. I was having a leisurely sick day up by my friend's pool under the Hollywood sign, enjoying the 90 degree heat and slight Santa Ana winds, when we saw the smoke rise. Raquel sent me a photo from her place down the street:

As the day went on, the smoke came and went, and helicopters zoomed over us on their way to refill their water buckets at the Lake Hollywood reservoir. Finally it seemed to be going away and the reports said it was contained... until it leaped over the ridge and started creeping towards the Observatory. Then all the rich people in Los Feliz were evacuated to Marshall High in Silverlake (which is the high school they used in Grease. Really, how many movies can I reference today?)

This is how it looks from my living room window:

Already our place is getting all ashy. Animals at the zoo have gone indoors, but there are still no structures in the fire line. About 600 acres of Griffith Park have burned. Now helicopters (a regular occurrence in LA anyway - hey, did you see Short Cuts? It's true!) are zooming past our windows to collect water from the Silverlake reservoir (that's our "silver lake," people. Raymond Chandler calls it "Grey lake" in The Big Sleep.)

And the best part about it is... It looks like arson. Gotta love it when that happens. Especially when we still have at least 6 more months of scorching hot and dry weather, in a year where LA has seen about 4 inches of rain. Not the time of year to chuck your cigarette butt aimlessly.