Posts Categorized: nature + environment

LA Fire Moon

LA Fire Moon

Both Lisa Johnson and my roommate, Lauren, informed me around around 6pm tonight that we had a beautiful orange sliver moon peeping through the ash cover.
Other parts of the Northern Hemisphere get October harvest moons, we get LA Fire moons.

U.S. Forest Service / NASA Satellite Photo of SoCal

Satellite photo of Souther California wildfires 10/26/03

The above satellite photo was taken on Sun. 10/26/03 by the US Forest Service / NASA Satellite. We have been downwind of the big plume for over 4 days now. Today is back to falling ashes and heat.
The above photo is from the LA Times coverage.
Nasa has a more comprehensive satellite image showing the smoke plumes going hundreds of miles out in to the Pacific and an article explaining the sat photos. The high res NASA photo shows fires also burning down the Baja California coast and more than half of the Salton Sea in algae bloom.

Wildfire Effect Update

CNN.com and the LA Times report this evening on the Southern California Wildfires.
LA Times map
Bascially there is a wall of fire burning up the mountains and hills from San Diego to Ventura. I am somewhat overstating the case, but as you can see from this map of the Old Fire the whole front range of the San Bernardino Mountains in on fire or burned to a crisp. The Old Fire has now merged with the Grand Prix Fire on the east end of the San Gabriel Mountains.
On one hand, we are very glad when we get a decent to good year of rain, like this past winter, but when combined with an extremely hot summer it makes for a horrible fire season. I have been praying that the high pressure system will lift off the Northwest and send our first storm of the season to douse us with moisture. The last good October rain we had was in 2000 over Halloween weekend.
My Grandma Grace and step-Grandpa Bill live in North Escondido on a ridge that over looks a very dry arroyo and in the distance one can see Valley Center and Mt. Palomar. My aunt Anne and cousin Brian drove down tonight to evacuate Grandma and Bill out as the Julian Fire, which is the largest of the fires burning right now, has now reached Escondido. Please pray that they do not lose their house, as they have had a very tough year with Bill’s broken vertabrae and Parkinson’s diagnosis.
Here in Orange, the Santa Ana winds and the accompanying rain of ash ceased around noon today leaving a strange, murky, dusky stillness in its wake. Just after 6pm, a lovely, cool offshore breeze started up and brought temperatures down into the late 60s. What a relief.

1:25 am and 71 degrees Farenheit

Lest I seem whiney, I must note after my other two posts about how bizarre the weather has been in the LA basin in the last 24 hours, I would like to state that it is currently warmer right now than it was at noon.
It feels like it is 80-something outside, but according to all the online weather sources it is 71 degrees farenheit. It is 1:25 am.

The Santa Ana Winds Have Started

At 8:24 pm (PST) the Santa Ana Winds started.
I walked out at 8:55pm and the the ashes from the fire were whirling everywhere along with leaves and debris. Yet, the stars were still obscured by clouds and fog.
Now at 9:36pm, there is ashes and dust on every surface in the house and the sky is clear. Mars is shining orange gold half way up the southern sky.

The Santa Ana Winds Have Started

At 8:24 pm (PST) the Santa Ana Winds started. Or at least, after 2 days of claims that they had been blowing through the Inland Empire, they have travelled southwest throught the Santa Ana Canyon to the coastal areas.
I walked out at 8:55pm and the the ashes from the fire were whirling everywhere along with leaves and debris. Yet, the stars were still obscured by clouds and fog.
Now at 9:36pm, there is ashes and dust on every surface in the house and the sky is clear. Mars is shining orange gold half way up the southern sky.

Snowing Ash

102503ash.jpg 102503sun.jpg

I woke up late this morning to weird diffused brown-yellowish light streaming into my room. It was not the bright yellow of California sun, nor the soft, diffused grey light of fog/inversion clouds, but an odd apocalyptic brown-yellow mist.
After a week of high heat in the 90s, yesterday was cool and misty. Thick fog rolled in by 8pm and blanketed Orange and Anaheim, and most likely the rest of the LA basin but I only ventured as far as the Doll Hut. When I woke up, I half expected the fog to still be lurking about, but the color of the light was so odd, I got up to investigate.
I took my camera and looked out all of the windows of the house into the back and side yards, and found the world to be draped in soft orange-brown-yellow tones. Upon exiting out to the driveway, I found a layer of ash on my car and on every surface. Ash was falling down much like a light snowfall. The sun, which was trying to break through the fog / cloud cover, was a reddish-orange ball.
CNN.com and the LA Times are reporting that the Rancho Cucamonga Grand Prix wildfire has grown to over 16,000 acres and has closed down the 15 fwy. They are both reporting high Santa Ana winds are flaming the blaze. Usually if the SA winds are coming through the Cajon Pass then we here in Orange would not be socked in with fog / inversion clouds, as the SA winds usually roar down the the Cajon pass through the Inland Empire then it speeds up through Santa Ana Canyon to clear out all the air through south LA and north / central OC.
The ashfall seems strangely out of place given the lack of winds here in Orange, the stagnant cloud layer, and we are approximately 50 miles southwest of the Grand Prix Fire. It is now 3pm, and the sun has not burned through the cloud cover. We are in an all day twilight with ash continuing to fall lightly down.

Flocks of Migrating Birds

Today, I went over to Blue’s to help her out with her computer. As I was walking up to her place, the olive trees were full of flitting, chirping birds. At first I thought they were the usual SoCal crew of twittering bushtits, but I kept seeing flashes of blue.
As I walked up the sidewalk, the birds would flush out of the nearest tree to the tree just in front of me. It was enough movement and flight for me to realize that I had walked into a large migrating flock of western bluebirds, orange-crowned warblers, and yellow rumped warbers. There were at least 40 plus birds.
Truly wonderful and extraordinary.
Get out in the next week to areas of trees and calm, and you may find yourself delighted to be in the midst of a flock of northern birds on the way to their winter holidays in Latin America.