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MuttShack Report from CA Sierra Madre Fire Zone

April 28, 2008

A fixed wing water tanker drops fire retardant on the ridgeline above the City of Sierra Madre .

Amanda St. John

Four Dogs and Wedding Party Evacuated by Helicopter from Advancing Sierra Madre Fire


A wedding party for Ken and Julie Grady consisting of 45 people and four pets were asked to shelter in place at Sturtevant Camp; the party was safely evacuated Sunday morning.

The party had driven up Saturday night to camp and celebrate the nuptials. Sierra Madre Search and Rescue led the evacuation operation coordinating with LA County Sheriffs. It took five helicopter trips to take the party back to their cars at the Chantry Flats Ranger Station where Los Angeles County Sheriffs Escorted everyone back down the mountain safely.

Evacuees who came to the Red Cross shelter with pets were very ably assisted by Pasadena Humane Society, the lead animal rescue agency for Sierra Madre.

MuttShack Animal Rescue visited the Red cross Shelters and spoke with several evacuees who had pets. Some evacuees did not want to send their pets to the shelter in Pasadena and chose instead to stay in their vehicles overnight.

Caroline Ingles and her four year old golden retriever Jay were relaxing on a blanket under the big shade trees.

Mark Crawford was hoping to sleep in his car for the night with his little black lab Glory, who is named after the Fourth of July.

Shannon M. a disaster veteran (who lost two homes in the Ninth ward, during Katrina) and “Rumbero” a little “Blonde Havanese” said that her cats were safe with friends, and that the only complaint Rumbero had was that he did not like the orange chicken the Red Cross was serving. Did we have steak?

The American Red Cross has opened a shelter at the Hart Park House and at the Congressional Church. MuttShack met with Shelter IC Cesar Aviles and John and Mary Valencia who had been working since dawn to set up the shelter. They were very concerned and helpful to people who had pets. Leashes, dog food, cat food, crates and bowls were on hand at the entrance to the shelter.

The Santa Anita fire began on Saturday, April 26th in the afternoon and has currently burned under 400 acres of wild land urban interface. Two firefighters had been injured, one was stung by a bee Saturday afternoon; the other strained his knee working in the steep terrain Sunday morning.

The terrain has not burned in forty years. Because the steep terrain is virtually impossible to fight on foot helicopters and planes are constantly dropping fire retardant from the air.

Approximately 1000 people have been evacuated from Oak Crest Drive across Carter Avenue to East Mira Monte Avenue, continuing down Mountain Trail Avenue, across Grandview Avenue to Santa Anita Avenue.

The American Red Cross has opened a shelter at the Hart Park House, 222 W. Sierra Madre Blvd. The number for the American Red Cross is 626-799-0841.

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