Fire on the Mountain

Crater rim firesOn Thursday after arriving at Crater Lake Lodge, we watched from our room as helicopters brought water buckets to the new lightning strikes that had ignited fires on the nearby slopes across the valley. Our view faced south to the upper Klamath basin, and that was smoky too.
Driving out two days later we crossed through verdant meadows and pastureland of the upper Klamath basin, liquidity that might exist in California if we had a coherent water policy and not a strictly political one. Coming across the border everything dried-out because, well, it’s a high desert environment that drains away.
As we drove south a fierce fire was raging on a ridge next to the freeway and we could see big air-tankers dropping retardant. We had gassed-up earlier at a rather remote location, and while at the gas-station a couple of Forest Service firefighters were expressing frustration at winds that had caused them to chase different fires in different directions.
Before we got to Shasta the smoke in the canyon was so thick that visibility had dropped to just yards – but the highway was OK and clear. The sparse following traffic had an urgency to it that I tried to match, but smaller and faster cars zipped by in a hurry to get the hell out of there.
Shasta Smoke
Shasta itself rose like a wraith, it’s pinnacle floating high above us and seemingly disconnected from the earth, its base obscured by smoke.
We got around the mountain and stopped briefly in McCloud for some lunch. The winds blow up from the south, generally, and on that side of the mountain the air was crystal clear – from that vantage point one wouldn’t even know that multiple fires were raging behind the massif.
It’s kinda like the drought situation here: the very-hipster SF BayAryans and ultra laid-back Angelenos seem to have no clue that the rest of the state is really in pretty bad shape, they water lawns indiscriminately – and I was among them. This problem has been on-going for about four years, and I never once heard word-one in the local media about it while living down there.
Meanwhile we’re lucky to have escaped the Sand Fire that burnt nineteen homes and seventy-four outbuildings just a few miles south of us while we were away. The nearby (Ponderosa) High School was the scene of evacuation where people and animals sheltered. Lotta horses and cattle here, and 4-H kids are very involved. I like that a lot.

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About NotClauswitz

The semi-sprawling adventures of a culturally hegemonic former flat-lander and anti-idiotarian individualist, fleeing the toxic cultural smug emitted by self-satisfied lotus-eating low-land Tesla-driving floppy-hat wearing lizadroid-Leftbat Califorganic eco-tofuistas ~

3 thoughts on “Fire on the Mountain

  1. That’s a really cool picture of the mountain. Were you around when the sun was setting? I bet it would have been even prettier then!

    • The Shasta picture was shot around 11:00AM – and it seemed to float – *loom* really, even higher in the sky above the smoke – like detached. There’s some vertical compression from the wide-angle lens. Watching it at sunset with alpenglow lighting it up would be awesome! The smoke/fire-picture at the top was taken in the evening, 5:00-ish, looking south into the upper Klamath basin.

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