Fire In The Pass

If there was news like this every night more people would watch TV news.

Stef called this evening. She is in Hollywood watching a fire burning just west of her. Not normally a TV news viewer, she found this very compelling. Fire coverage in Los Angeles is well choreographed.

There was a time when Channels 3 and 8 had helicopters here in Connecticut. Very expensive. Too expensive&#185. Gone.

The expectation of TV helicopters in Los Angeles is so high they might as well be considered required! Some days it’s like there’s a broadcasters Air Force overhead!

When the market is so much larger in area and revenue it’s easier to amortize the copter’s immense cost. The L.A. stations use theirs every day–often enough to be proficient.

The copters are up and doing themselves proud this afternoon. There is a brush fire along the 405 in Sepulveda Pass. That’s the scene of LA’s infamous “Carmageddon,” a potential traffic tie-up so monumental everyone stayed away. The 405 (actually I-405) is the main gateway from L.A. to the Valley.

The fire is newsworthy because of the 405, because the Getty Museum is nearby and because the fire threatens homes in Bel Air (where the current average real estate listing is $3.7 million).

I had KCBS-TV’s live stream on for a while until I realized FoxCT’s co-owned sister station KTLA was also available. They have both done an exemplary job. Both have a bunch of ground based cameras aimed at the fire, plus a chopper.

The real show is Los Angeles Fire Department’s version of an Air Force: five firefighting helicopters on-scene plus two Bombardier CL415 Superscoopers leased from Quebec for the brush fire season. Each holds 1,620 gallons of water–seawater scooped from the Pacific.

Both stations’ copters captured the firefighting aircraft hugging the ground then dropping their loads while flying into a blinding column of smoke and steam. Air-to-air video with image stabilized cameras is a thing of beauty.

Firefighters on-the-ground and in-the-air made quick work of this blaze. When I tuned in flames dominated. When I left they had been beaten down. There will be dozens of small fires like this in Southern California this year. A few larger ones too.

If there was news like this every night more people would watch TV.

Photos are clickable for a larger version.

&#185 – I always thought the money would have been better spent on hiring more reporters/photographers. No one asked for my opinion.

Watching The News On Aussie TV

She is gorgeous and in the past has not been shy about appearing on camera doing travel pieces in a bathing suit… a small bathing suit.

I’m watching the 6:00 O’clock news right now. To me this is one of the cooler parts of the Internet. The picture is great direct from Australia on Nine Network Sydney.

If you didn’t know better you’d think everyone in Australia is Caucasian. I saw no Asians, no people of color. I know they’re there, but on TV they seem invisible. Think US TV in the early 60s.

I didn’t see the top of the broadcast. Hopefully that’s when the heavier stories ran. By the time I tuned in it had devolved into Kate Winslet’s marriage and a Tiger and Elin Woods’ sighting (lifted from TMZ).

Birdseye and Target were both represented in the commercials, of course with an Aussie accent (Tah-get). The rest of the commercials were definitely local, but for the products you’d expect on TV–beer, soda, insurance, paint. They were cleverly done with high production values.

I sat through the sports (except for the injured David Beckham I didn’t recognize one name or team mentioned) so I could see the weather.

OK–it’s Australia. Usually weather isn’t a major focus on the news especially on this (for them) late summer’s day. The presenter was Natalie Gruzlewski.

There’s a lot of Natalie on the Internet. In a nation of beautiful women she stands out! She is gorgeous and in the past has not been shy about appearing on camera doing travel pieces in a bathing suit… a small bathing suit.

Natalie was either reading or following along from a well scripted briefing. No turning and pointing to her maps. In fact she often stood directly in front of what she was referencing–even the extended forecast icons. She seemed disconnected from the content, but I’m looking at this from my own perspective and it’s likely Australians are used to and expect something totally different.

In the past in some dreamworld fantasy I thought it might be cool to arrange a swap where I filled in doing the weather somewhere else in the world while that person filled in for me. Selling my bosses on Natalie would be easier than selling Natalie’s bosses on me. Much easier.