Smoke, Skies, and Sand

Los Angeles County Fire/Air Operations--via Twitter

According to its website, the Angeles National Forest offers "natural environments, spectacular scenery, developed campgrounds and picnic areas, swimming, fishing, skiing, and the solitude of quiet wilderness areas." Not cited on that webpage, it also provides a scenic background for one of the most hustling and bustling cities in the country: Los Angeles, California.

This weekend, this serene, picturesque forest became home to an incredibly active, dangerous blaze known as the Sand Fire. (For reference, fire names are often determined by their proximity to certain landmarks; this one is in the Sand Canyon area.)

David McNiew/AFP/Getty Images via ABC News)

As the Sand Fire rages on, the landscape's color palette drastically shifts. The rich kelly greens of the forest's trees are swallowed up by vicious, unrelenting orange flames. The skies are cast a dusty, dingy grey—not unlike the clouds of dirt kicked up by baseball cleats as players try to steal home plate.  

The scene feels like something out of a Hollywood movie--a comparison not entirely unfounded and perhaps slightly ironic due to the location.

As of July 25, this fire has scorched over 33,100 acres of land--nearly 52 square miles.1 That's larger than the area of my hometown. Just for a hint of perspective.

Fires like these show no mercy.

And the fight against the Sand Fire is nowhere near finished. At only 10 percent contained, there is a lot of hard work left to be done by the nearly 3,000 firefighters combatting it. 26 helicopters are in the air dispensing water and fire retardant. Mandatory evacuations continue.

In order to help the teams on the ground, we issued a fire management assistance grant on July 23. These grants can be approved in a matter of hours and go to directly help the firefighters:

personnel and staffing; equipment and supplies; meals, health and safety items; pre-positioning resources; emergency work.

Hours upon hours of service, sweat, blood, and tears all go into fighting fires this large (and many smaller ones). That definitely does not go unnoticed. We're grateful for all the hard work these firefighters and emergency responders do each and every day.

Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

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