Weird Light


 Darkness rises
The Holy Fire has been moving away from us since it began, though we must remain watchful.  This fire is the result of arson.  The arsonist was on involuntary psychiatric hold about two weeks ago and reportedly has a long history of mental illness.  We as a country have chosen to be stingy when it comes to funding mental health care--how much will this fire cost?  


It's been an incredibly smoky fire  It is burning in an area that has not burned in some 40 years, so there is particularly dense, dry growth involved.   Wild fire burns swiftly uphill, but typically slowly or not at all downhill, unless it is wind-driven.
University of Nevada School of Earth Sciences and Engineering
Camera on Santiago Peak.  Note the pink fire retardant on the foliage near the antenna arrays: 
 The fire began in Holy Jim, a deep, narrow canyon, burning out the nearly vertical sides of the canyon quickly.  It has spread to other canyons.  The fire fighters laid down retardant at the tops of the canyons but the heat is so high, the fuel so plentiful, the firefighters stretched so thin, and the terrain so difficult,  it has raged on downhill.
August 7:
 August 9:
Thursday the wind moved the smoke over us.  Strangely, there is no perceivable smoke odor.  The air is so hot, smoke is staying above us, drifting westward.  Though there is no smoke odor, there is a high level of particulate matter--bad for lungs.  
 The smoke has been thick enough to drop the temperature from 92F to 85F.  The light is a weird orange.
Making orange more orange
 That's the sun:
Some plants have their own fire, despite the terrible heat.
Tecoma 'Bells of Fire'
 Grevillea 'Kings Fire'
Weird light.

Comments

  1. Wild fires are scary. The Uk had the first major one I can remember this summer, an dlike your started on purpose. Don't get me started on funding for mental health, there are just to many stories around this, when will we learn.
    Anyway I hope the fire is brought under control and doesn't affect too many other people. The photos are great, the topic scary.

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    1. When the UK has forest fires, you know the climate is changing. Yikes.

      The smoke is better today, though there is now ash everywhere--it cooled down enough last night to allow the ash to fall.

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    2. Yesterday I saw footage of a fire tornado -- in the U.K.!! Earth is sending a message that's pretty hard to miss. You'd think.

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  2. While the weird light is interesting to observe, it's cause is heartbreaking. Past overcrowding, neglect, and abuse of patients in asylums led to deinstitutionalization and the few psychiatric facilities left are woefully underfunded/ understaffed. There is still such a stigma attached to mental health. Everyone wants to fund facilities and research related to physical well being but mention mental health and many people think patients should just pull themselves up by their own bootstraps and get over it.

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    1. The way our leaders handle mental health care is so bad, it clearly indicates our leaders need--better mental health care! :(

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  3. There was an intense "blood sun" between 6-7 p.m. last night - a fierce red orb slightly veiled by smoky clouds. And yes, that very, very weird light. And such weirdly nonsensical tweets about our wildfires too!

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    1. It was all very creepy, wasn't it?

      The tweets make perfect sense: some really rich guys want to log in national forests, so here's a great excuse to do it.

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  4. A program I was listening to on NPR noted that a fire raging in CA now was human caused, but I had no idea it was arson and set by someone with known mental health issues. How sad. We've been under smoky skies all week (the rising sun a ball of hazy fire) but they're saying that should change later today as the winds shift. I hope you get some relief soon, I hope the firefighters catch a break. This is all so ugly.

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    1. The firefighters are doing heroic work. Not nearly so much smoke this morning.

      The thing I was trying to express was that there is no free lunch--eliminating mental health care dollars doesn't save money--it merely shifts the cost elsewhere. Like a lot of the policies being implemented these days.

      Gardens are a profound comfort.

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    2. I got what you were expressing and couldn't agree more.

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  5. Great photos, although I know you'd prefer to see clear blue skies - or rain sodden clouds! We had a touch of that same weird light here too, although we've been spared the ash and the smoke smell, at least thus far. We received a warning this morning that there may be smoke in the area here today.

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    1. I hope your area missed the smoke, Kris. It cleared out here, and the ashfall wasn't too thick. Feels like it might get cooler soon...or am I just wishing?

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  6. These are very dramatic photos of a terrifying situation that’s all too familiar to us here in Australia, including the bit about arson. And we have the same disregard for people with mental health isssues too. You have a lovely garden and I particularly like the crepe myrtles which are favourites of mine as they’re so hardy yet colourful all summer

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    1. Thank you!

      The crepe myrtles, even the one just planted this summer, hold up to heat--a plant characteristic we'll need more and more. They don't need a lot of water--another big plus.

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  7. Profoundly disturbing when the light is Wrong. Awful that one person can cause such a huge fire. Thinking of firefighters working in great heat and rough terrain!

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    1. The firefighters do amazing work. We're all anxious for their safety fighting a particularly difficult fire. Much less smoke this morning--they may be making progress.

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  8. Yes indeed, weird light. We have fires both to the north and east , and like you we can't smell the smoke here . The National weather service forecast discussion is full of uncertainty on the temps-it has definitely been cooler than predicted with this smoke cloud hanging above. And it's only August. I hope for an early rainy season.

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    1. You know, if we get rain, I don't care when it comes--as long as it comes. We can hope. The days are getting shorter and it felt better this morning--like this endless heat was going to break soon...hope there, too.

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  9. I am so sorry that you and millions of other people have to experience this catastrophe and all of the fall out of it. Just seeing pictures of all the effects makes me anxious. I can't imagine how you feel.

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    1. It's worrying, but we have very brave people working on the ground and in the air to save homes, wildlands, and wildlife. That is something to be grateful for, and proud of.

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  10. Great photos. That light is so weird. I have never been close enough to a wild fire to see the smoke, unless you count prescribed burns. Glad you guys are safe!

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    1. Hopefully you never get close to a wildfire! The fire is 41% contained as of latest report--they are making good progress. Heat wave abating a little bit as well. Counting blessings.

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  11. How sad the damage one person can do. I will be visiting Northern California in September and am paying close attention to the wild fires. Of all the natural forces, I think fire scares me the most. And yes, we are reaping the consequences in more than one way for our lack of commitment to mental health issues. I remember when our state closed the "insane asylums" and returned most occupants to society. The intentions were good, but many patients soon found themselves on the street, lacking support systems, off meds, and in a world of hurt. Their pain continues to affect us all. Stay safe.

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    1. I hope you have a great visit to NorCal. It's a beautiful place.

      "A world of hurt". Good intentions, but not thought through and not properly funded.
      Yes, indeed.

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