Weather in the Foothills

“Now and then we hear the wilder voices of the wilderness, from animals that in the hours of darkness do not fear the neighborhood of man: the coyotes wail like dismal ventriloquists, or the silence may be broken by the snorting and stamping of a deer.”

~ Theodore Roosevelt

On Aug. 26, 2009 the Station Fire broke out in the Angeles National Forest. It is considered to be the largest wildfire in the modern history of Los Angeles County. Unlike many fires in the Southland it was not driven by Santa Ana winds; it burned slowly. On Oct. 9 a moderate rainstorm extinguished the last hot spot, bringing full containment. The damage and subsequent slow environmental recovery was due to the fire’s nature. Following was a five-year drought that overtook the already devastated area.

Besides the obvious, many victims of the fire go unnoticed. The wildlife is one of these. I remember a lone coyote walking down our street, thin, head down, tail dragging and fur singed. Forced out of his home, our neighborhoods became his sanctuary. Fortunately, coyotes are an example of an extremely adaptable canine. Throughout the U.S., except in Hawaii, home is the mountains, deserts and suburban neighborhoods. Their habitat must include abundant prey and accommodations for denning and rearing pups. La Crescenta and other foothill communities offer both.

The reasons coyotes are so adaptable include their willingness to eat just about anything and their very keen senses of smell, hearing and sight. Coyotes survive within areas populated by humans, given the right conditions. Many post-fire creatures live along foliaged washes and in vacant lots. For some small critters, both wild and domestic, fruit trees and gardens make for a plentiful diet.

We must adapt to our shared territory. Don’t encourage a friendship with coyotes. Protect your pets, keep them and their food and water indoors. If a coyote gets too close, scare him away.

“Get out of here, go away!” my husband shouted on Saturday as one walked up our driveway.

Weather-wise, a deep moist marine layer – including patchy drizzle – has settled in. Breezy winds are expected on Friday into Saturday as a low moves southward. Lingering into early next week, temperatures will remain mild – highs in the 70s with lows around 50 are predicted. Looking ahead to Tuesday and Wednesday, a few brave NWS meteorologists are making mention of rain.

Up in the clouds, this possibility will remain … for now.


Sue Kilpatrick is a

Crescenta Valley resident and

Official Skywarn Spotter for the

National Weather Service. Reach her at