- ANGELES NATIONAL FOREST -
The Curve fire that has consumed more than 16,000 acres in the Angeles
National Forest was started by candles used in a ritual involving animal
sacrifice, U.S. Forest officials said late Wednesday.
- Fire investigators concluded it was candles that sparked
the blaze which originated in Bichota Mesa, said Cliff Johnson, fire information
officer with the U.S. Forest Service.
- "I'm not sure what they found," he said. Details
about the investigation were scarce.
- Arson is believed to be the cause of the fire.
- Rumored reports of a Satanic cult or a group of "witches"
that are regularly seen in the forest lighting candles and cutting off
chicken heads are also being looked into, sources said Wednesday.
- More than 1,640 firefighters continued to battle the
fire on Wednesday, as the blaze moved in nearly every direction.
- In the fourth day of the blaze which started during the
busy Labor Day weekend crews watered the flames and scurried to build fire
lines to control the burn.
- "It's moving somewhat west toward the San Gabriel
Valley Wilderness area, a little bit to the north ... and most of the spread
will probably be to the east into the Sheep Wilderness area," said
Ed Gililland, a fire information officer for the U.S. Forest Service. "We're
holding along the south pretty well."
- More than 16,000 acres of chaparral and steep terrain
have been charred since the fire started about 12:35 p.m. Sunday. With
it, at least 72 structures have been gutted, including 50 recreation cabins
built in the 1920s and 1930s and a historic ranger station at Coldbrook
- It might be Tuesday evening before Curve Fire is contained.
That's the best estimate by fire officials in charge of different areas
of the blaze, officials said. By late Wednesday, 15 percent had been contained.
- Firefighters are hoping that weather forecasts for rain
come true. A 50 percent chance of rain is expected today through Friday,
with temperatures dropping to the upper 60s and 70s in the forest and in
the upper 80s and 90s for the rest of the San Gabriel Valley, said Stuart
Seto, a weather specialist for the National Weather Service.
- "Any moisture we can get is real helpful,"
Gililland said. "Our only concern being is if it comes with lightning,
but we welcome the rain."
- Los Angeles County firefighters broke bread during a
thank-you lunch with the volunteer firefighters at Follows Camp, near the
East Fork of the canyon. Several crews were stationed there to protect
the trailers and motor homes at the camp in the event the blaze headed
over the one ridge that separated campers there from danger.
- Others stopped at the area's only restaurant for lunch
and to rest on top of the fire trucks and in chairs on the ground.
- Joe Davison, the longtime owner of the camp, says he
lost at least $5,000 on Sunday when the fire forced him to send nearly
1,000 weekend campers home and refund some of their money.
- Lou Stevens and her husband are one of dozens of families
who chose not to leave their Follows Camp homes when a voluntary evacuation
was put into effect Monday.
- "We have nowhere else where we could go," said
Stevens, 55. "We weren't that worried. It's something you get used
to up here. And last night, the sky just glowed. It was beautiful, sad
- The camp, and another one nearby, are closed to the public
and open only to residents, officials said.
- Although the fire does not represent a significant amount
of the 692,000-acre forest, it does make up a sizable portion of the forest
accessible to the public. And officials estimate there were about 8,000
to 10,000 people camping or taking part in other festivities Sunday afternoon
when the fire started.
- "The San Gabriel Canyon is very, very populated,"
said Gail Wright, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Forest Service. "This
is a very well-used recreation area and it is a large part of where people
- About 300 motorists in the north end of the forest were
evacuated out of the canyon via a normally locked entrance to the Angeles
Crest (2) Highway from Highway 39. The entrance has been closed since 1978,
and some mountain dwellers have fought to have it reopened for years, citing
public safety concerns.
- Barry Wetherby is one of them. Wetherby, whose Pasadena
Bait Club cabin in the West Fork has been unaffected by the fire, says
he shudders to think about the lives that might have been lost had it not
been for sheriff's deputies who opened the gate to Highway 2.
- He also says cabin owners have asked for a meeting with
representatives from the Angeles National Forest Service to answer complaints
about whether enough personnel was sent in and whether the proper equipment
was used. The meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Friday at the Glendora Public
- "They think that some of these cabins should have
been saved and they don't know why it happened," Wetherby said. "A
lot of these places have been owned by Hollywood actors, and there's so
much history, I can't even tell you. One of them was made out of all saws."
- Anyone with information related to the incident is asked
to call the Forest Service Law Enforcement and Investigations at (626)574-5351.
- Michelle Rester can be reached at (626) 962-8811, Ext.
2127, or by e-mail at michelle.restersgvn.com
- While I'm aware that you did not write the article that
appears on http://www.rense.com/general28/pgns.htm I wish to go on record
as one who takes issue with you repeating such misinformation in a public
forum. The author will hear from me as well.
- I can't speak for 'Satanic cults,' but I can tell you
with considerable accuracy that witches do not remove the heads of chickens
- or any other animal. Neither does any other 'pagan' faith that I've ever
been aware of. In fact, harming any living creature would be totally against
- Witches do embrace the candle as a part of some rituals,
but the last time I looked, so do some Christian faiths.
- Perhaps the fire was caused by a Christian group preparing
a pot of chicken soup. It makes as much sense, after all, and would be
based on as much fact. But then it wouldn't be interesting press, now
- Tom Mahoney
- Lititz, PA
Duely noted, Tom. Just as the term Christian, which has been around a long
time, and carries with it certain implications which may or may not properly
define or characterize, we do seem to labor under the diffuclty of labels
which cast an ill shadow today. - webmaster