In the Heat of the Night

Some updates on the Southern California fires…

First, the Chatsworth fire isn’t the only one. There was also a large fire in Riverside County, near Calimesa. This fire, which consumed over 1,300 acres, started in a chicken coop, and between 60,000 to 90,000 chickens perished in the blaze. Reportedly, the Grillmaster at El Pollo Loco has been called to assist with the cleanup. And speaking of El Pollo Loco, it is being purchased by New York investors. (“New York City”, he said in the tone of the Salsa commercial). El Pollo Loco used to be owned by the same folks that owned Dennys, and was later owned by American Securities Capital Partners, a private investment firm. The new owners, Trimaran Capital Partners, plan to take the chain national; in particular, they have targeted New York, New Jersey, New England, Chicago, Denver and Texas for expansion and have signed franchise agreements for new stores in those markets. The company hopes to open 150 locations in the next five years, adding to its current 328 sites, which are mostly in Southern California, with a few in Arizona, Nevada and Texas.

Turning from charbroiled chicken to the continuing “char” in Chatsworth. The fire continues to grow. I’m listening to the news as I’m reviewing the document, and the focus seems to have moved to the south. This fire has grown to char over 7,000 acres overnight. You hear nothing about the northern end of the file. Most of the concern is the southern end, which is approaching Oak Park and Agoura, communities near the 101 freeway. There are evactuations in Bell Canyon, Box Canyon, Lake Manor, Woolsey Canyon, and Chesboro and Kanan Road N of the 101. Voluntary evacuations are in Malibu Canyan and Agoura Hills (both N of the 101), Hidden Hills, and Mt. View Estates. There have also been evacuations in Oak Park. The fire has also burned structures on the Santa Susanna Rocketdyne property.

Of course, this creates the next worry: will it burn down to the freeway, jump it, and then jump into the hills of Malibu? We haven’t had a large Malibu fire in years, and those hills are ripe to go. I don’t want to see it: that creates a risk for camp if it makes it down to the ocean. It has happened before.