Fire threat to Mount Wilson appears to have diminished

Firefighters battling the wildfire threatening Mount Wilson, home to the fabled Wilson Observatory and extensive broadcast transmission infrastructure serving viewers in the Los Angeles metropolitan area, appear to have gained the upper hand, at least for the moment, in their fight to protect the facilities.

As of about 10 a.m. Pacific Daylight Saving Time, the official Web site tracking the Station Fire reported on the progress, saying “fire personnel are feeling more comfortable that the Observatory will not be damaged,” but adding that there remains a concern.

According to the site, the fire progressed Wednesday towards Mount Wilson, but the work of fire crews and aircraft dropping flame retardant on the western slope of the mountain slowed its spread. “Thanks to the hard work done over the past few days Mount Wilson’s defensibility has been greatly improved,” the site said.

Twenty-two TV stations and 25 FM radio stations as well as local police and fire departments have towers and transmitters on the mountain. Media reports indicated transmitter crews on the mountain were evacuated Aug. 30.

Over the weekend, local fire officials expressed concern that they would not be able to stop the flames from reaching Mount Wilson and damaging or destroying the facilities on the mountain. At that time, a Los Angeles County Fire Department spokesman was quoted in one report as saying it was not a matter or if, but when would the flames reach the peak of Mount Wilson.