Amazing Grace

Hopefully the rain that started last night around 1:40AM will help with wildfire control, as long as dry-lightning doesn’t start any more! The dog retreated to the garage where it’s dry – but occasional downpours lashed at the house and the field is wet. A good morning for a walk.

Plain Air

Yesterday was pretty good and ended up better, which is to say only Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups, but this morning started out that way and has gotten better – so we took the doggie out for a walk since the skies were not all clouded with smoke, and then went to lunch at Poor Red’s. Burger and fries for me, Caesar for my wife – hand-fed nibbles for the white Siberian Husky.

The wiggly-wobbly Dr. Seuss Tree in the distant tree-line, left of center.

Due North is to the Left, South to the right. The windmill is facing West and spinning rapidly, so the wind is headed due-East, towards The Fire. Hopefully it will get pushed up onto granite with little fuel. One local Fireman commentator in the news related that one burn area, a steep canyon below Twin Bridges, was choked with large fallen trees, and there was no record of it burning since 1940 – and actually none prior to that either. That’s 80+ years of accumulated fuels, and in the past 10-year drought, things have been getting dryer and dryer including forest-floor fuels, with a strict moratorium on fuel removal.

Only after the King Fire a couple years ago that burnt down to the bottom of the American River Canyon, and after repeated requests by our Congresscritter, were some avenues opened to allow downed-tree and debris removal, and a higher level of National Forest management. That activity in the last two years probably saved a lot of houses in Pollock, because of all the tree-loss due to bark-beetle infestation and removing that dead wood.

Que Mala

Welcome to California – it’s actually a desert state, more arid than damp, and wholly unlike the “Pacific North-Wet.” Years and years of forestry mismanagement results in this, obvious conclusion. I can’t even see my neighbor’s house across the fence-line, and the AQI is extraordinarily bad. Shelter in place today.

UPDATE: The afternoon brought us easterly winds and the overhead sky improved a lot, and so did the air-quality index, but this pattern is expected to repeat with no rain in sight. I think the doggie suffers the most, but often we can’t keep her inside, she’s always been an outside dog and doesn’t like confinement.

136,643 Acres

Wiggly “Dr. Seuss Tree” off in the distance.

As the sun rose above the tree line this morning, a red rubber ball, behind and to the right of the wiggly “Dr. Seuss Tree,” you could just make out the top of the fire-cloud. Reportedly the West end of the fire near Grizzly Flat, down in the Cosumnes River canyon, has been boxed-in and 12% containment achieved…

Yesterday a mid-day breeze out of the southwest blew away the smoke and our AQI improved vastly by the afternoon, and the same pattern is expected to be repeated through the weekend. But that pattern includes an nighttime cooling wind that allows the smoke to drift down the mountains overnight and bring the AQI down – or up, depending on your perspective.

Finally around 3:30PM with a bit more wind the skies overhead became somewhat more blue than gray, and after another hour and a half the air-quality instruments started showing not-horrible numbers – but by then the doggie was grumpy and played-out from not playing at all, and hardly touched her dinner. This will repeat tomorrow.

Fire on the Mountain

This morning we awoke to clear skies after a southern, BayAryan, “Delta Effect” breeze blew through and cleared the air. Yesterday was thick an oppressive. Because fire.

Caldor Fire Cloud

And this is the fire-cloud, which loomed much larger this morning when we walked the dog, but flattened-down as time went on. This afternoon aircraft have been constantly flying overhead, inbound on the right of the picture, outbound on the left – C-130’s that carry water and DC-10’s with fire retardant – I don’t believe the fleet is very large. Grizzly Flat is about 20-miles away and has been evacuated, among other communities.

Here’s a link to the evacuation map:

Red Sun

Yesterday I had a Blogversary and I forgot all about it. In the past I celebrated the Mai-Tai, but since ‘Going Western’ I haven’t made one of those in years. Today is another day of low AQI in the smoke, but yesterday got measurably better as the day went on and at least things haven’t worsened.

Except where the FatBoy is concerned. After fiddling with the left (clutch side) handlebar switches and replacing the black caps with plastic chrome, that side no longer functions as a running-light. The turn indicators work (and the horn and high-low beam) but it’s not on as a running-light like the right (brake) side…


Cool and overcast, I slept-in till 6:20 not expecting the cloud-cover and 60-degree temps. The doggie barked excitedly to be let in, and jumped on the bed for the “Morning Meeting.” After greeting us she ran outside and picked up her toy, while a song that had been running through my head all night played again, Tears for Fears, “Everybody Wants to Rule the World.” WTH?

We walked the dog and the sun came up over the trees a faint red ball, and the whiff of wood-smoke is more pronounced, so during the night the wind must have shifted…


Got some weird weather this morning…wetness from the sky. The dog doesn’t mind being that it’s 68-degrees at 7:00AM as usual. Low 90’s today, low 100’s tomorrow. Not much smoke from the fires.