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Station Fire Images

These remarkable photographs were taken by Dave Jurasevich, Superintendent of Mount Wilson Observatory. Dave is a very well-known astrophotographer whose stunning celestial imagery is displayed on his webiste at His astronomical photographs will be the focus of the 2010 Mount Wilson Observatory calendar, to be announced soon.

The images shown here of various aspects of the Station Fire as it has affected Mount Wilson over the last are a subset of the hundreds of photos he has taken. Click on each of the following images to show a full size version in a separate browser window.

All of the following photographs are Copyright, David Jurasevich, 2009.

Posted on 6 Sep 09 by Hal McAlister, Director, Mount Wilson Observatory

2 Sep - A view of the Galley, the small building between the 60- and 100-inch telescopes where astronomer and night assistants take their "night lunch." This view was taken early Wednesday morning, 2 Sep 2009, after the backfires were lit by fire fighters the previous night. The post in the left foreground was heavily eroded by flame, and still stands as a reminder of this defensive maneuver.

3 Sep - A Cal Fire captain from Calaveras County, CA prepares a drip torch for demonstation after I arrived Thursday afternoon.

3 Sep - A Cal Fire fire fighter from Calaveras County, demonstrates the drip torch. They had done this in earnest the previous Tuesday and Wednesday over the north slope of the mountain.

3 Sep - There have been many wonderful fire fighters from all over that country that we continue to meet, but we were most aquainted with these guys from the Calaveras County units of the California Division of Forestry and Fire Protection. They were on site during day time hours from the late last week until they were relieved and allowed to return home Saturday morning. The were responsible for much of the preparation of the Observatory grounds, and I had the privilege of posing with them.

4 Sep - Fred Thompson, Superintendent of the Helena Hot Shots, briefs his crew prior to their deployment to lay a fire line off the north east slop of the mountain to connect to the Newcomb's Ridge dozer line.

4 Sep - Six of the 23 Helena Hot Shots, four of whom are women. They remain on site today to support the continuing effort.

4 Sep - The enormous pyrocumulus cloud that built over the heavy burn to the north of Cogswell Dam.

5 Sep - Dense smoke to the west of the 150-ft solar tower. You can see the ever popular UCLA Towercam located on top of the tower's dome.

5 Sep - A DC 10 air tanker flies behing the 150-ft. This tanker has not been used in the vicinity of Mount Wilson, but we see it frequently flying to critical areas in the Station Fire.

5 Sep - A P2V Neptune follows the lead plane who directs the tanker and releases smoke over the fire retardant drop zone. Dave took this and the following drop images from Echo Point.

5 Sep - This spectactular photo shows the Neptune on a drop with flames off in the distance. You should see the high resolution version!

5 Sep - The P3 Orion close up.

5 Sep - The P2V Neptune close up. You can see a jet assist engine under the wings.

5 Sep - The Orion on another drop.