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September 16, 2020

I waited several days for a window of smoke-free air before going outside to sweep the white dusty ash that landed in our patio on September 8. Just as I was about to sweep the rubber mat at the bottom of the backdoor stairs, I spotted something that wasn’t ash. Ever so carefully, I picked up what was a tiny leaf mostly intact that was burnt to a crisp. I examined its tiny veins and what was left of the stem – and imagined the little leaf floating its way down the mountain for miles before finding a landing spot. If it had gone just a few inches more, it would be amongst Jacqueline’s potted cacti and I would never have seen it. I took this as a reminder that life is precious.

And thank goodness for my smartphone and the Nixle alert system that regularly keeps us in the loop about the status of the fires. Every smartphone user should enable their phones to receive emergency alerts -- via email, text, voice message or social media -- from the local police and other agencies that partner with Nixle (text your zip code to 888777). If I were not connected, I would be a nervous nelly wondering if we are in immediate danger with the ongoing fires. The last major fire we experienced here was way before the smartphone and we had to anxiously rely on television to know the status of the fires and whether or not we would need to evacuate.

The brief yet detailed Nixle alerts have been providing residents with thoughtful updates – starting in the morning, throughout the day as needed, and the last one around dinner time.

Sometimes the house shakes when low-flying helicopters and planes fly over. And I could see my masked neighbors catching photos or videos on their smartphones. So, we’ll continue standing by because it’s not over yet.

Then a ray of hope greeted me on top of the barbecue grill when I walked out to the front lawn. Louie saw that our small “fully-grown” rogue pumpkin had detached naturally from the vine – as perfect and orange as can be.

Life truly is precious.


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Wednesday September 16, 2020, 9:30 AM

Sierra Madre Police Department

Alert Details Severity: Severe - Significant threat to life or property Urgency: Future - Responsive action SHOULD be taken in the near future Certainty: Possible (p <= ~50%) Category: FIRE: Fire suppression and rescue Event Description: Wildfire

Alert: Sierra Madre Bobcat Fire update for the morning of September 16, 2020

Dear Athena F Lucero, All contingency lines held for the Bobcat Fire near Sierra Madre last night. The spots fires in Santa Anita Canyon and near Harvard Ridge were addressed and are no longer a concern. Today, fire crews will be putting a perimeter line around the southern portion of the fire near Sierra Madre. This fire has remained active due to steep terrain and inaccessible conditions. When fire crews are successful in placing this perimeter line we will start the monitoring period to ensure the fire is no longer advancing. Unified Command is working hard to contain the southern portion of the Bobcat Fire which is impacting the communities in the foothills. Locally, the fire has been held in position. Fire crews are starting to close all remaining openings for the fire. Meetings regarding repopulation of the evacuated area will take place this afternoon and an update will be provided for the evacuated residents east of Santa Anita and north of Elkins.

Emergency Radio Station AM 1630 Instructions:

Please continue to check for updates on the fire.

Sunday September 13, 2020, 6:09 PM

Sierra Madre Police Department

Advisory: An update on the Bobcat Fire from Sierra Madre City Manager Gabe Engeland

Dear Athena F Lucero,

Sierra Madre residents,

I want to provide an update on the fire so people know the resources we have assigned in Sierra Madre, as well as what to expect this evening.

Currently Sierra Madre has 4 strike teams assigned to the city. Each strike team consists of 5 engines. We have a total of 10 type 1 engines, and 10 type 6 engines. The incident also has 2 air tankers (phos-chek airplanes), 2 helicopters, and a structure protection team that you will be able to observe working this side of the fire. This is in addition to numerous fire equipment and personnel.

Incident command has done an excellent job of managing the resources assigned to the fire, and the Sierra Madre Fire Department, as part of unified command, has been working the fire locally and in conjunction with Arcadia and Monrovia.

The Sierra Madre Police Department will be limiting access to only residents in the canyon areas through barricaded and guarded street entry.

We have released color-coded maps of the 3 canyon areas that may require evacuation. We remain under an evacuation warning in Sierra Madre, but the only evacuations which have taken place are for properties east of Santa Anita and north of Elkins.

You can view and download the evacuation maps as well as watch Fire Captain Rich Snyder’s explanation of the maps at

As the sun goes down and the smoke fully lifts, Sierra Madre residents will again be able to clearly see flames and will be able to observe how far the fire has moved. Please be assured that we are watching the fire locally, coordinating regionally, and working with incident command to keep Sierra Madre residents safe.

We will provide another update this evening, after 8 p.m., when the incident command briefing is concluded.

Please continue to get information for Sierra Madre here:



Gabriel L. Engeland

City Manager

City of Sierra Madre

Washing Hands + Wearing a Mask + Social Distancing = Saving Lives

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