One of the helicopter staging areas is at the Sierra Madre Villa Debris Basin west of upper Hastings and north of the golf course. The top picture shows the whole operation with fire hose leading out to the dam above the basin, helicopters, a fuel truck on the right and LA County fire trucks in the foreground. The second and third photos show helicopters on the approach and landing. The last shot shows the water source being used to fill the helicopters. Hundreds of yards of hose runs from the dam, over the road, around a house, and across another road to tie into a hydrant on Old House Rd.
Watching the fire fighters work has been amazing. They've got four or five helicopters going today and they've been going straight since about 6 this morning. I've never seen helicopters maneuver like these do. The pilots land near the fuel truck if they need fuel, then lift off slightly and move down the dam to where the water hose is to get filled with water. Then they take off and return minutes later for more. All of this somehow coordinated with four or five helicopters working at the same time. I was talking to one of the crew and he said these pilots are so skilled they can pull their helicopters up sharply to actually throw their load of water forward. The whole operation is very impressive.
At about 1 pm, the fire seemed just behind the ridge that is visible in the third picture. I saw a plane dropping red fire retardant along the top of the ridge. Hopefully the fire can be stopped there.