ACTON, CA — “I am now asking Los Angeles County to appoint an independent investigator since this mishandling of the Station Fire may go all the way to the White House,” asserted actor/animal welfare activist Leo Grillo. “President Obama has to authorize the federal air attack and he had not yet done so at the time I was on the radio screaming for an air attack. This is an obvious cover up.” When the fire began to spread, Grillo and his staff moved animals residing at his threatened D.E.L.T.A. Rescue sanctuary posthaste to safer ground.
Others were not so lucky. Two firefighters plunged to their deaths. Nearly all of the indigenous wildlife in the area were incinerated. Horses were torched. What was once known as “Horse Country” is now a range of blackened twigs.
Since a clear morning sky favored a preemptive air assault, the Forest Service cleared itself by placing the blame for the monstrous fire on topography.
Concerned citizens still wonder why aircraft, including a tanker that can carry up to 21,000 gallons of retardant, was not deployed at the onset.
“The U.S. Forest Service never send in the Supertankers at the start of wildfires,” said retired aerospace security officer Ed Nemechek. “And pilots have said that there is no excuse — weather, terrain, etcetera — for not using Supertankers up front, which the U.S. Forest Service has never done, by policy. The Forest Service’s conclusion clearing itself of any wrongdoing is an obvious whitewash.”
“At the most critical moment in the Station Fire, there was no air attack for over five hours of daylight. This was a opportune time to exercise prevention,” said Grillo. “There was no wind, no smoke, no visible flames. Perfect time to douse the fire.”
Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael Antonovich, whose district covers the northern chunk of greater Los Angeles, including Antelope Valley, also blasted the Forest Service’s final analysis. Antonovich labeled the Forest Service’s opinion that an early air assault would not have made a difference “a false assertion to justify their failure,” he said in a written statement.
“The bottom line on these major wildfires is that when the fires are burning, the Fire Industrial Complex is making money,” said Nemechek.
“Profits and power come first, public safety last, maybe never. And we must stop what amounts to deliberate domestic terrorism by fire for profit by our own public safety officials.”
Nemechek, who lives in Adelanto, says he and his family suffered the effects of smoke inhalation during the Station Fire.
Grillo, who cares for more than 1,500 previously unwanted animals at D.E.L.T.A. Rescue and Horse Rescue of America, has documented a visual survey of the Station Fire before it turned treacherous and through to its baleful aftermath. He said the dreadful image he captured of the frightened horse who tried to escape the Station Fire is representative of what happens when humans allow disasters to gain control.
“This beautiful, majestic animal tried to outrun the flames, apparently escaping from a burning ranch,” explained Grillo. “There are burned corrals up there [on Mount Gleason]. This horse’s body was actually cremated, which takes a full eight hours to do at a crematory. That’s how hot the fire was.
“I will never drop this issue until it is resolved correctly.”