Incident Name: Griffith Park Fire
Date: 10/3/33, 1426 hours
Personnel: many local hires during the Depression
Agency/Organization: Los Angeles County
Position: mostly inexperienced people hired to fight fire
Summary: When Santa Ana winds began to blow on October 3, 1933, the chaparral was dry. A fire began in Griffith Park, NNE of Los Angeles. As it grew, nearby local fire departments responded and 3,780 out-of-work men who had been hired for clearing brush at 40 cents an hour volunteered or were pressed into service to fight fire with shovels, wet sacks and their bare hands. Mineral Wells Canyon, nearby Dam Canyon and the ridge that separated the two were involved. About 1500 hours, the wind -- which had been blowing gently down-canyon -- shifted, and the fast fire moving up-canyon killed many who could not outrun it. The reported number of dead vary because of the chaos and transient nature of the workers. Some put the number of dead at 29, at 33, at 52 or more. More than 150 others were injured. The actual number is unknown. Bodies were burned beyond recognition and many had no identifying possessions or families to miss them.
Engine 56, Hose 27 along with 50 Mountain Patrolmen responded and contained the fire to 46.83 acres.
- Glendale NewsPress Article from 1993: The Griffith Park Fire
- Campbell & Schubert's Fire Prediction Model: Wind, slope and solar were in alignment.
- Griffith Park, October 4, 1933
Contributors to this article: Griffith Park photo front and back from The Collection of JohnMac; Doug Campbell
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