I know from years of living in southern CA that wildfires are a common threat and happen far too often. The latest fires, however, are by far the most eerie of them all that I've experienced. When I used to live up in Santa Babara, we had some pretty bad fires out in the forest (away from homes and the town). Even with how far they were, I remember going out to my car every day and wiping white ash off of my windshield, and constantly coughing up black soot (gross).
The fires that are going on there now, I can't even imagine what the town must be experiencing. It is basically rolling down their small streets and blowing hot flame kisses on their front door steps. Several (last time I checked, over 150) homes and even the monastery have been destroyed, and the flames are still charging.
I woke up yesterday morning, after having a nightmare which mixed the latest fears of this 7.8mag earthquake that we've been told to prepare for with everything burning around us, only to find that ANOTHER wildfire broke out overnight, this time much closer.
Winds have been reported at 70-80 mph (strong enough to be put into hurricane threatening categories). The firefighting teams have been saying that it's like matchsticks going up in a completely random pile. Both directions, burning faster than they can run. Scary, and so sad.
Yesterday you could watch the smokey clouds move all over the sky as the winds kept shifting directions. It is so dense that it never really seems to go away, just hangs around. At one point it hung out in front of the sun over the ocean, and cast this weird red reflection on the water. Very dark and beautiful. Here are some (sad quality) iPhone shots that I took on our bike ride:
Speaking of Red, ever notice that red stuff that they pour over the fires? I never really stopped to find out WHAT exactly that is. . . I found out today in this news report, and although it does a good job in getting those fires out, I am VERY upset to see that it's harmful chemicals.
While I love to tell all of my stories through photography, from where I am, images might not be as strong as the description of what the air quality is, to show what’s going on. The air went from nice clear blue skies (minus the typical smog of LA) and smells of the ocean, to completely abhorrent. I started getting a headache last night, and although I might have drank the better half of a bottle of wine, I am pretty sure it’s the ash in the air to blame. Today everything wreaks of ash and smoke, and seems very eerie. It even SOUNDS eerie. More quiet that normal, although you can tell that there is still day-to-day stuff going on. It's like the smoke went up into the sky and created this yellowish blanket around us, muffling noises and creating a sense and light of constant dawn.
For the sake of the people's lives/homes, our energy supply, the trees, the air and my lungs, I hope these flames are smothered soon.