Thursday, June 26, 2008

Too Many Fires and Too Much Smoke

The smoke in the air seems to get worse and worse every day. But, there's a good reason for it. The latest count on the number of fires burning in California is up to 1088 now. Summertime in the mountains mean thunder storms. And with the shortage of rainfall the last year or so, that means more fires started by dry lightning strikes. Look at the image below. Click on it and enlarge it. All the red "dots" are active fires. That white/gray stuff you see over land isn't clouds. It's smoke. The white you see offshore is the coastal fog/marine layer.

I've borrowed the image from the Sacramento Bee... Here is the description for the satellite image:
This photo, supplied by NASA, is an Aqua satellite view of the smoke drifting from the wildfires, denoted by red dots, raging Wednesday evening, June 25, 2008, in Northern California. Hundreds of firefighters worked Thursday to protect the scenic community of Big Sur from a lightning-sparked wildfire that inched closer to historic structures after burning 16 homes and threatening another 500 houses. The white area in lower left are clouds.
Even San Francisco is suffering from all of the smoke. Just take a look at the skyline shot below (also "borrowed" from the Sacramento Bee article.) It's not often you see the skyline of the city so obscured by anything other than fog.

The Calfire Wildland Fire information page lists all the fires. It also has information about the current conditions that the firefighters are dealing with. And they are predicting more lightning.
Current Situation: State and Federal firefighters continue to battle hundreds of wildfires throughout Northern California and are preparing for light to moderate dry thunderstorm activity beginning tonight through the weekend. Fires are activity burning and continuing to spread. New fires are being identified on a regular basis. Priority of firefighting effort is for the protection of life, property and natural resources.

Total Fires: 1,088
Acres: 158,818
Contained Fires: 241
Personnel Committed: 12,512
Resources Committed:
  • Fire Engines: 933
  • Hand Crews: 288
  • Dozers: 262
  • Water Tenders: 330
  • Helicopters: 68
  • Air Tankers: 14
I've watched what the fire service has to deal with for many years. I can't remember another fire season like this one. It's scary. I feel so sorry for all those men and women out on the fire lines fighting these fires. I remember what my husband was like when he came home from a big fire. Drained, exhausted and incredibly dirty. He would be torn between taking a shower and falling on the bed to sleep. And it's still just June. "Fire Season" normally runs until November. 5 more months more or less. These people are true heroes in my opinion. They are doing the best they can to save lives and protect property. Heroes. Yep... Definitely heroes.


Sprocket said...

It's pretty bad Anakerie. Stay safe!

Anakerie said...

I'm trying to stay safe! I'm sticking close to home because I can't do much outside.. It's hard to breathe with all the smoke in the air. I can't "smell" it anymore. My sense of smell is gone now. :-(