I met a neighbor today who lives three houses up the street . She’s lived there for 44 years , she said . I’ve been in my house almost 20 . We’d never met .

We were watching the fire and smoke up on the hill burning brush on the hillside above our houses . A helicopter had begun dropping loads of water on the flames . I could see a line of firefighters walking up a high ridge .fire monrovia 003

The radio news mentioned the fire . ” One or two acres , ” the reporter said . ” It seems to be under control . ”  That was just around noon .

About four o’clock  I took a walk up to the top of the street .  A sheriff’s deputy was assigned to block the road from civilian vehicles . The road was full , by this time , of fire-fighting vehicles .fire monrovia 019 fire monrovia 022 fire monrovia 023 fire monrovia 024

The fire had spread to 90 acres . The hill is dry . It hasn’t burned , the fire chief said , in 56 years . The dry brush went up in flame easily , spurred on by a mild wind . The terrain is almost inaccessible , sharp canyons and ridges .fire monrovia 008

I stood watching flare-ups , too near to houses . Two water-dropping helicopters and five fire-fighting prop planes were continually circling . The roads were full of fire trucks . Police cars blocked the roads .

And the stubborn fire persisted .

By 7:00 pm perhaps it was substantially out . The whop whop whop sound of helicopters has stopped . No more sirens .  I can smell the smoke .fire monrovia 028

Welcome to southern California , I guess . Hopefully no houses were burned . Hopefully no people were hurt . In the afternoon several houses were evacuated . Maybe the neighborhood up near the fire has 50 years to reach the same fire danger as existed until today .  But , many of them will have to be concerned about mud slides now , now that no vegetation will hold back the hillsides .fire monrovia 025

When my neighbor and I were watching the plume of smoke at noon , she said something about earthquakes , about the former owner of my house always ready for emergencies , with emergency supplies .  Earthquakes .  Welcome to southern California .fire monrovia 006

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