Record heat and wildfires

Mark Booth

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We are having record heat (for this time of year) in SoCal. It was 111º at our house yesterday with 16% humidity. Perfect wildfire weather and, sure enough, several new fires started yesterday, including one (the Valley Fire) about 20 miles from our house.

Yesterday we had a mild Santa Ana (winds out of the east/northeast) which pushed the fire toward homes in an area called Lawson Valley (about 14 miles from our house). The smoke was mostly going to the north of us but, this morning, despite the blue skies, there is ash everywhere. Sadly, several homes were lost overnight in the Lawson Valley area. Photos by FirePhotoGirl on Twitter:








We live in the foothills of east San Diego County and there are numerous cameras on mountaintops surrounding the area. When the fire started yesterday it was easy to triangulate the location by looking at the views of the various cameras. Yesterday, the smoke column was clearly blowing to the west/northwest. Weather forecasters predicted no Santa Ana winds for today and, sure enough, our normal breeze out of the west has returned (though, very light). Here's a view of the Valley Fire as seen from a camera that is south of the fire with the camera pointed north/northwest. Clearly the smoke column is moving in an easterly direction. That's a really good thing because there are far fewer homes in that direction.




When I got up this morning the odor of smoke was very strong in the outside air. As the morning has progressed it has mostly cleared away as the onshore breeze pushes it east. But first thing this morning it was pretty damn unhealthy air out there. This is a view at 7:40am this morning from Mt. San Miguel. The peak of Mt. San Miguel is about 3.5 miles from our home.




That is smoke, not clouds. Our home is off to the left of that view and we had mostly blue skies at 7:40am. But still the strong odor of smoke and ash everywhere.

Meanwhile, up in San Bernardino County, there's the ElDorado Fire. I haven't been following it all that closely (too much fire of our own to worry about) but I found this short video while looking for more information on our Valley Fire and it is a VERY share-worthy video. A SuperTanker drops fire retardant between the ElDorado Fire and some homes in an attempt to save those structures.



Flying that huge plane that close to the ground... YOWSER!! Major kudos to our hero firefighters and pilots that are working in 100+ degree heat!

Mark
 

Mark Booth

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Just learned the very same SuperTanker (tail #944) that was dropping retardant on the ElDorado Fire yesterday came down to San Diego and did a few drops here on the Valley Fire too. Here's its track on FlightAware:



Looks like it did about 4 passes over the northeastern edge of the fire.

Mark
 

JohnRice

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Same deal here in Colorado. I think tomorrow we will set an all-time record for most days over 90 in a single year, and no doubt there are more to come. Plenty of fires as well. The upside is that we're supposed to have rain and snow(!) in the next 24 hours, high in the 30s on Tuesday, then back to the 90s by the weekend. Yeah, our high today was 100, over 90 tomorrow, then Tuesday is supposed to be a high of 34 and snow, then back to the 90s by the weekend. Definitely fits the rest of this freaky-ass year.

Here's a photo of the smoke from the Cameron Peak fire at the west side of our County. This fire is near the Continental Divide.

118950099_10220605997554572_2229692943465343987_o.jpg
 
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Phil Iturralde

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We live in Google land, Mountain View and even though the Fresno fires (204 miles) and the closer Santa Cruz CZU Lightning Complex fires (55 miles) is not a threat to us, the 9 am recorded AQI is Unhealthy and climbing.

Screenshot_20200907-104558_AirVisual.jpg
 

JohnRice

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I shot this from my front yard this morning. I preset the color balance so it wouldn't try to correct the color. This is what it looks like to the eye.

I want to point out that this photo is shot directly into the sun. Yes, the sun, if you could see it, is dead center in this image.

_FER5982-1K.jpg
 
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Mark Booth

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I came here to share the same story, Malcolm!

Yet another OUTDOOR gender reveal party organized by MORONS on one of the hottest & driest days of the year! If the smoke from the smoke bomb is pink, it's a girl. If it's blue, it's a boy. But what if the smoke bomb ignites a massive fire that destroys more than 100 homes and thousands of acres of natural habitat? Is that a boy or a girl?

Too many stupid humans! Despite COVID, they should have held the party in their home and maybe the only place the would have burned down is their own house.

The Valley Fire near us is now over 11,000 acres. The cause has not been announced. Yesterday's on-shore winds pushed the fire east, away from us. (We had some partially smoky skies yesterday, today it is all blue skies around.) The mandatory evacuation area keeps expanding east with evacuation warnings to the north, east and south. The fire is only 1% contained but, looking at the mountaintop cameras, there doesn't seem to be any strongly vertical plumes of smoke at this time.

That said, many of the camera views are partially or almost totally obscured due to low-hanging smoke. One of the new mandatory evacuation areas is Los Pinos and the west-facing camera on Los Pinos Peak is currently offering this view:




Unfortunately, the Santa Ana winds are supposed to return starting Tuesday night through Friday. That could slow the eastern and northern edges of the fire but might fan the western edge anew and send the fire front towards us again. The folks in Lawson Valley might not be out of the woods yet.

Are we having fun yet? I am so VERY sick and tired of 2020!

Mark
 

JohnRice

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The fire near me is also supposedly "human caused" and at last assessment is at 60,000 acres.
 

JohnRice

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The fire to our West had been burning for almost a month and was at 25,000 acres. Over the weekend it exploded and burned an additional 75,000 acres in three days to be over 100,000 acres total. Amazingly, even though it was 100 degrees on Sunday, we had a full day of rain and snow Monday night through Tuesday and highs in the 30s. The fire area got over a foot of snow, which has stagnated the fire, but with temps expected to return to the 90s in a few days, it'll flare up again.

We have crazy weather here along the Colorado Front Range, but this is one for the record books.
 

Tommy R

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Here in Oregon there are fires all over the place. The sky looks brown orange or sometimes orange/red. Here’s a pic from my balcony, most of the pics I’ve been taking don’t come out quite as crazy it looks in person, but this one is actually pretty close (and taken at 4:30 pm when it’s usually a bright blue sky.)
1599697339011.jpeg
 

Mark Booth

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Our daughter lives in Medford, OR. She had to evacuate last night. The fire started down in Ashland and burned up the I-5 corridor, decimating the small towns of Talent and Phoenix. Our daughter’s apartment is at the south end of Medford and firefighters stopped the forward advance of the fire less than a half mile from her apartment complex. More fires have been springing up throughout the day.

Down here in San Diego, we got lucky with a heavy on-shore flow and thick marine layer on Monday night into Tuesday. There hasn’t been heavy flames or plume of smoke at the Valley Fire since Monday. Warmer weather is expected Thursday and Friday, hopefully we won’t get any flare ups.

I extend my middle finger to the year 2020. Please, 2021, be a better year.

Mark
 

Mark Booth

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Mark Booth

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The Valley Fire down here in San Diego isn't officially listed as fully contained but I believe it is mostly out and doesn't present any threat to life or property. It ended up burning nearly 18,000 acres.

This is a photo taken by a photographer for our local newspaper. I believe it was shot on Thursday. The road is Lyons Valley Rd., one that my wife and I have travelled many many times in the past 30 years.




In 2017, right after getting my drone, I drove out to Lyons Valley Rd. and shot some aerial video of my Miata. If you look near the bottom of the above photo you'll see a pull-out area to the right of the road with two piles of dirt. County crews use that area to hold the dirt so there's almost always 2-3 piles of dirt there. And so there was in 2017 when I used that exact same spot for some of the drone video that I shot. Therefore, this is the "before" video (of the area pictured in the above photo) and how it looked in late 2017:


Mark
 

Francois Caron

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This is a photo taken by a photographer for our local newspaper. I believe it was shot on Thursday. The road is Lyons Valley Rd., one that my wife and I have travelled many many times in the past 30 years.
It looks like Hawaii's Big Island after a road has been rebuilt over a lava flow.

For everyone trying to take pictures of the orange skies, manually set the white balance on your cameras to either daylight or cloudy. Lock it to the setting the delivers the most realistic colour balance to what you're seeing around you.

A drone video was recently filmed over San Francisco with a horrible techno beat added as a soundtrack.


Many people took that video and substituted the soundtrack with the one from the movie Blade Runner 2049.


The colour balance between the movie and real life are frighteningly similar.

 

Bernard McNair

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Very frightening situation; we had a similar summer in Australia last summer that resulted In substantial loss of life and property.
The firefighters genuine heroes, I hope this terrible time passes for you soon.
 
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JohnRice

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With all the other chaos going on there hasn't been much reporting outside Colorado about the wildfires we are still having. There are two in the vicinity of where I live in Northern Colorado. Cameron Peak in our County and Mullen in Southern Wyoming and Northern Colorado in the county West of us. These two fires total over 350,000 acres. The Cameron Peak is, by far, the biggest in Colorado history and the Mullen is even bigger than that. We had hurricane force winds in the last day, over 100 mph on Berthoud Pass West of the Cameron Peak fire, and 40,000 acres or more has burned in 24 hours.

The smoke and ash is incredible and it's even raining burned pine needles where I live. What a freaking year.
 

JohnRice

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The two wildfires in our vicinity, the Mullen fire in Southern Wyoming and Northern Colorado, and Cameron Peak fire in Northern Colorado now total nearly 400,000 acres. To put that in perspective, that's over 600 square miles, and more than half the size of Rhode Island.
 

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