Does Anyone Smell Smoke In The West Valley?


I was out and about in Woodland Hills today and noticed a billowing cloud to the north. It had the faintest amber hue to it. The air felt murkier. And I’ve seen snippets of ash fly across the sky.

So I checked around the news for local fires and as of 10 a.m. this morning, the fires have been burning out by Porter Ranch. Porter Ranch is located in the northwestern part of the San Fernando Valley, a little over 10 miles north of my residence. The area is characterized by hilly terrain, winding streets, and tile roofed-homes circa the 1970′s. And if you’re living in Porter Ranch, your family is likely in the six-figure income bracket.

I hope the homes in the area are safe from the fires. If you’re just curious, take a look at the real estate below.

11487  Twin Hills Ave./4bd, 3bth/2,861 sq. ft./$680,000

11690 Seminole Circle/4bd, 3bth/2,552 sq. ft./$749,000

11743 Doral Ave./4bd, 3bth/2,276 sq. ft./$925,000

  • Emmanuel Cervantes

    This morning while at the office, we watched several acres of land go up in flames. Around 11am, we were notified that a personal friend was contacted and informed that they should evacuate their home in Porter Ranch. Within minutes we were on the road heading north on Topanga Canyon Blvd toward the 118 Freeway. As we approached the 118 Freeway, the smell of smoke filled the cabin of the car and visibility worsened every minute.

    As we arrived at the Bellagio community in Porter Ranch, we were greeted by police officers and emergency workers directing traffic and advising residents who lived in the area. We were given access to the Bellagio community and were allowed to drive into the community. Others, who’s homes were in direct risk were not allowed to enter into their communities.

    Once we arrived at our friend’s home, we began to help gather photos and personal belongings that were irreplaceable. After loading three cars with belongings we sat around the house and kept our eyes glued to the television for updates on the fire. At around 1:30pm, we noticed flames burning bright on a hill directly behind the backyard. We quickly ran outside and turned on every single waterhose we could find in attempt to soak the trees and shrubs. The fire was approximately 150 yards away from the home but the size and brightest of the flames emerging from the fire made the inferno appear closer.

    At around 3pm local firefighters finally arrived to our community, the Bellagio. Our friend’s caught the attention of the firefighters and had them take a look at the fire burning directly behind the home. After observing the distance of the flames, the terrain behind the home and the wind direction, they informed us that the home would be fine. They pointed out several Eucalyptus shrubs that were planted between the flames and the homes. The firefighters stated that these plants would not burn and thus protect the home. In addition, they were pleased to see that the brush directly behind the homes was cleared. Therefore, unless wind direction changed, the fire would burn to the west and spare the Bellagio community.

    Today I learned the importance of preparation and preventive measures. Words of advise if you live in fire prone areas: Make sure you have all of your important documents i.e. tax returns, deeds, passports, etc in a mobile fireproof safe. Consider planting fire resistant california native plants around your home and make sure that you clear away any dry brush from around your home. Our thoughts are with those who have lost.

  • Christina Chan

    Thanks so much for you post, Emmanuel. The fires are a very scary thing and my thoughts go out to those whose homes are in the area.