Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Palomar Observatory refuge for about 20 people

Posted @ 4:52 PM

About 20 people sought refuge from the Poomacha fire at the Palomar Observatory.

"We had some local mountain residents, some people from the state park,"said observatory spokesman Scott Kardel, who let evacuees into the observatory's visitor center before dawn.

"The plan is to obviously pay close attention to what the situation is, we have some provisions for people," he said.

If the observatory ran out of room in the visitors center, the plan is to move then into the dome holding the Hale Telescope.

"That's probably the safest spot in the whole mountain," Kardel said.

But he won't be among those seeking refuge there. Together with his family, he has moved to Borrego Springs, where many people from the county's back country are going to escape the fires.

It is unclear how many people will spend the night at the observatory. County officials are recommending evacuees go to Borrego Springs.

The observatory is closed to the public until further notice.

-- Onell R. Soto

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