Sep 1, 2009 6:56 PM by Associated Press

Flames seen near observatory

Flames have been seen near the historic observatory atop Mount Wilson north of Los Angeles. But the flames spotted from a TV helicopter appear small, and firefighters are still on the mountain trying to protect the site.

Mount Wilson is also home to at least 20 TV transmission towers and communications antennas. The commander overseeing the massive battle against the wildfire says he's optimistic, even as the flames continue to scorch tinder-dry land.

Mike Dietrich of the U.S. Forest Service spoke as firefighters set backfires and removed brush with bulldozers across a huge swath of forest in an effort to contain the wildfire that has grown to 190 square miles. The flames have already destroyed 53 homes and threatens thousands more in the foothill suburbs.


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