Santa Clarita Valley History In Pictures
> FIRES/DISASTERS   > PLACERITA CANYON
Oil Tank on Fire
Placerita Canyon, California


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Four big oil tanks went up in thick, black smoke in the Newhall area in the same fire that decimated Gene Autry's Melody Ranch studio in Placerita Canyon on Aug. 28, 1962.

This one was located on the south side of Placerita Canyon Road, just west of Sierra Highway (see map below).

8x10 Associated Press wire photo, distributed for publication Aug. 29, 1962. Cutline reads:

(LA5) LOS ANGELES, Aug. 29
OIL TANK VICTIM OF BRUSH FIRE
Clouds of dense smoke pour from a blazing oil storage tasnk near Newhall, Calif., yesterday as a pair of disastrous brush fires swept over thousands of acres of mountainous terrain. The oil tank was one of four destroyed.
(AP Wirephoto) (rhs40400tms)



Google Earth view 2017. Click to enlarge.


The first blaze broke out just after noon in Hasley Canyon, north of Castaic Junction. The second broke out an hour later near the Circle J Ranch between Newhall and Saugus. High winds whipped the flames into the most intense inferno anyone had ever seen.

When the smoke cleared three days later, 17,200 acres had been scorched and 15 structures and numerous out-buildings were lost. No one was killed, but the Western street at Melody Ranch was gone.

"I had always planned to erect a Western museum there," Autry remembered in 1995, "but priceless Indian relics and a collection of rare guns, including a set used by Billy the Kid, went up in smoke. Thank God, the ranch hands and all 14 of our horses were uninjured."

Further Reading:

800 TB Patients Flee Fire; Homes, Autry Ranch Razed (AP 8-29-1962)

My Memories Of Melody Ranch by Gene Autry, 1995

Melody Ranch: Movie Magic in Placerita Canyon


LW3022: 9600 dpi jpeg from original photograph purchased 2017 by Leon Worden.
MELODY RANCH CATEGORIES:
• 1952-1962 Pre-Fire
• 1962 Fire
• 1962-1990 Post-Fire
• Veluzat Era 1991—

MELODY RANCH FIRE 8-28-1962

• AP Full Story
• AP Short Story
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Melody 8-28-1962

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Oil Tank 8-28-1962

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SFV x2

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Man Flees 8-28-1962

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Melody 8-29-1962

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Salvaged Buckle

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Salvaged Whip

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Salvaged Conchos

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Salvaged Curb Bit

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Salvaged Iron

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