Thursday, June 26, 2008

Hundreds of Fires in Northern California

I live on the Northern California Coast. Even when there are fires what this usually means is that since most winds come off the ocean and go inland I usually have fairly fresh air where I live since it comes off 5000 miles or more of ocean and an upwelling ocean current in the ocean.

Not today. Today I walked outside my front door only to be met with smoke. I realized how important to prevent coughing from smoke keeping doors and windows closed today would be. The hundreds of fires, mostly started by lightning range from San Luis Obispo and Bakersfield north mostly. The go all the way up into Oregon and into Nevada.

There have never before in recorded history, as far as I know,been this many fires in Northern California at once, ever. The other day the number was up to 800+ fires. Most of these fires have no firefighters as there are just too many. Fires in Wilderness areas without structures nearby have been just left to burn because we have run out of firefighters to fight the fires.

We had the driest March through May this year in history, after having a very wet January and February. This made a lot of underbrush grow up and then quickly get dry like wild oats and the like which is a perfect combination for fires. Fires year around have started to be common in southern California. This year it is common in Northern California, Nevada and Southern Oregon as well.

I knew we were in for it last night when coming out of a restaurant with friends the sun was orange from the smoke. But by the time I was almost home I almost couldn't see the sun at all, so deep was the smoke. It's a different surrealistic world with the fires this summer.

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