Elsmere Canyon November, 2008, Fire Damage

The fire in Elsmere Canyon was evidently not really part of the Sayre fire. From two separate agencies I learned that it was actually caused by intentional backfires set by the fire department. They wanted to keep the Sayre fire from burning any further north. At the time it probably seemed like the right thing to do considering the damage the Sayre fire was doing and the weather conditions at the time, so I can't fault the fire department. They always do a great job with these canyon fires under extremely difficult conditions.

The Sayre fire started Friday night on November 14th and wasn't reported as fully contained until November 20th.

The overall burn area in the canyon was nowhere near the 2004 fire, which literally burned the entire canyon. This burn only partially reached about a mile up the canyon. However, the number of trees that had to be cut down was more than number of trees that were cut down for the 2004 fire.

The following photos were taken on November 23rd and November 28th with the exception of the last four photos, which were taken on 1/10/2009.

At the entrance

One of the backfires was started on this ridge above the Los Angeles aqueduct

The Los Angeles aqueduct is between the two red poles

The red tape surrounds hazardess trees. They may be ready to fall or are still smoldering. This whole ridge was particularly hard hit with damaged oaks.

This stump is still smoldering and smoking

This oak had to be cut down because the condition of the base made the tree dangerous. It could have fallen over at any time, maybe on some hiker.

Forest Service strike teams looking for hot spots a week after the fire was out

A team getting ready to hike up the canyon

On the road up the south side of the canyon, this team poured water into a still hot stump

The backfire burned up and just over the utility towers up the south road

This is a view south from the south road just past the utility towers

On the south road just before you get high enough to see into the San Fernando Valley. This is real Sayre fire damage. week after the fire was out

This is looking in a different direction as the previous photo almost in the same spot

This is at the tunnel under the Highway 14 (out of view on the left). MRCA land starts at the gate in the right part of the photo and goes north, the direction this photo is pointing.

These deers were also in the vicentity

This racer snake was sunning himself on the burnt ground

Looking down on the boiler on the high area south of Elsmere Canyon

Looking north near the boiler up at the separation tank and the jack plant near the top of the hill. On the other side of this hill is the south face of Elsmere Canyon. I'm guessing that the Sayre reached the top of the south face of Elsmere Canyon here because the burn area is pretty consistent from here to the south.


My black backpack is sitting next to this tree. I don't expect this tree to remain standing much longer.