JPL threatened by fires

Contributed by
Aug 30, 2009
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[Update (19:40 MT): On Twitter right now, several friends are saying Mt. Wilson -- a very famous and historic observatory -- may get hit by these fires. As of this moment, news is unclear. Yikes.]

[Update II (20:40 MT): Clifford Johnson has heard that the authorities may have to let the fires take Mt. Wilson. I have not confirmed this yet. If it's true, well, we'll see.]

[Update III (23:00 p.m. MT) Firefighters will stay at Mt. Wilson to fight back the flames. Oh my. Such heroism is incredible. But... the Hooker 100 inch telescope at Mt. Wilson is what was use to discover the Universe is expanding. We filmed part of "The Skeptologists" there, and I touched the mirror of that telescope. I hope it can be saved, but not at the cost of human life. I hope they take care there.]

There are wildfires burning in southern California right now, and I hope all the BABloggees -- everyone -- out there are safe. I've been following several friends on Twitter and I'm relieved to hear they're OK.

However, the fires are right on top of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, and I just got a news alert that said that only essential personnel are to report to JPL tomorrow (Monday):

Mission-critical personnel who should report for work on Aug. 31 will be determined by JPL’s deputy director and will be contacted by their supervisors. JPL and the Woodbury complex will be closed on Monday to all other personnel. Public tours originally scheduled for Monday are cancelled.

I never appreciated just how bad these could be until I lived in northern California, and fires were burning 20 miles away, but the smoke where we were was bad enough we had to stay home. It's scary, for real scary, and I most whole-heartedly hope everyone is safe at home right now.