Sunday, October 21, 2007

Southern California Wildfires

Just a quick note to say that we're all safe here at Casa Anglachel.

There are currently a number of significant wildfires in the region, all of them springing up within a matter of hours due to Santa Ana conditions. The photo in the Wikipedia entry shows a satellite view of the fires from a few years ago. When the Santa Anas hit, the humidty drops like a rock. We're below 10% right now and this was only the beginning of the winds. They are predicted to get worse for several days. We've had one of the driest years on record, so the vegetation is ready to burn. Finally, we are in a La Nina year, which will reduce rainfall again and lengthen the fire season. (Regional joke - California *does* have four seasons: fire, flood, earthquake and riot.)

Two of the current fires are close enough to where we live that the air in the apartment is smoke-scented and outdoors we're wreathed in a yellow haze. The "Witch" fire is north, almost exactly between the two large Paradise and Cedar fires of October 2003. At last report, it had burned over 4,000 8,000 acres. There is another fire south and east of us, very close to the US-Mexico border, called the "Harris" fire. That is the one where one person was killed and eight have been injured. It is reported to have burned about 3,000 acres. Both of these areas are rough, rocky and mountainous. While the Cedar fire got most of the news last time, there was a south county fire like the Harris burning then, as well.

Most pictures from the region are on the Malibu fires because they are destroying a lot of houses and because they are right near LA and media centers. I suspect the San Diego County fires will be worse because there are no natural barriers to their spread. Ironically enough, the biggest help to keeping the Witch fire under control will be that the Cedar and Paradise burned down so much four years ago, there's not that much left there to catch fire.

We are well away from both blazes and will not be in any danger from them. The concern for us is air quality. I have a horrible head cold, so am congested already, and it's a little difficult to breathe comfortably. I will be very thankful for the AC at work tomorrow.

For good reporting, go to the LA Times. The San Diego Union-Tribune does not have much up on line yet, though it will probably have quite a bit tomorrow. There is a Google map with pins showing the locations of the various fires here. It shows another wildfire fire near the SD/Riverside county border due east of Temecula which has been reported in the last few minutes. I know it looks (and smells) like all of Southern California is on fire, but, umm, well, it is....

EDIT - Better San Diego news from the San Diego public news station KPBS. Better fire map here.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Glad to hear you're alright. The only part that's making the news here is that some celebrities are having to evacuate.