Schwarzenegger tours fire swept Griffith Park
L.A. City Councilman Tom LaBonge, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger
and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa view a map of the devastated
Photo(s) by Duncan McIntosh, Office of Governor Schwarzenegger
By Dana Bartholomew, LA Daily News
May 11, 2007
As Catalina Island burned Friday morning, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger
joined Los Angeles city officials for an acrid tour of the ashes
in Griffith Park before meeting with reporters.
Heading south from a blackened Mt. Hollywood, the governor and
his entourage drove a mile east of the famous Greek Theater.
They drove past Aberdeen Canyon, where some say the fire was
ignited by a burning cigarette.
Past barren hills denuded of everything but ash and the scrawny
skeletons of live oak trees. Past catch basins filled with soot.
Schwarzenegger, accompanied by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa
and Councilman Tom LaBonge, emerged from his van on the south
slope of Griffith Park, directly above a historic nursery saved
He trudged slowly, thoughtfully, silently, inhaling the pungent
remains of what had once been lush ceonothus, toyon and sage.
For nearly 100 feet, he walked, looking at scorched earth and
listening to LaBonge's much repeated description of how "the
fire danced like Mick Jagger on stage - boom, boom, boom!"
How fire roared Tuesday toward Loz Feliz, threatening such mansions
as the Lautner home once featured in "L.A. Confidential."
How the fire had turned around and raced up Mt. Hollywood, torching
Dante's View and its tree-lined garden.
And how water-dropping helicopters had worked through the night
to save the day.
The governor then praised the work of firefighters who had coordinated
their efforts to save some of the city's most famous landmarks,
including the Griffith Observatory and the L.A. Zoo.
"This is amazing," Schwarzenneger said, looking toward
downtown L.A. in the distance. "It (the fire) actually stopped
there. This is the work of the firefighters. If you think about
it, we had this really incredible fire ... and it didn't take
Then he pointed to a partially burned oak and added: "This
is obviously the tree that stopped it all."