Earlier today, I saw my first lavendar sky, after the past five days’ ochre soup of an atmosphere.
Lavendar, and then some whispy white clouds blowing in from the Pacific. Lavendar sky, meaning there was still enough grey stuff to color down the blue sky overhead, but at least not to blank it out as before.
By the early evening, the bad air returned and with evening, too little light to see any sky color. But, from the scent of smoke even indoors in my relatively well sealed home, and the sirens I started hearing just a moment ago, I know it’s bad again nearby. My earlier venture outdoors early this morning left me with an hour’s worth of near asthma distress afterward.
However, I have been very, very fortunate in that where I live in South Orange County, this Coastal area, has been one of those not on fire. It’s extreme when you can identify as fortunate when you’re not consumed in flames, but, that’s what I am: fortunate, and not consumed in flames.
What I am consumed in is extremely poor air quality, what with most of the pollutants from the worst of the fires, inland, blowing here. There was a drop in temperature earlier today, all over the surrounding area, but the inland air flow, off the Pacific toward the active fire areas, has increased the flames and edged them onto the drier, tinder dry Lake Arrowhead forested foothills to the Northeast.
Here’s a reprint of a map I located at The San Francisco Chronicle, in today’s edition — the green dot represents where I’m located, the yellow circle indicates the strongest concentration of overall worst air quality — right where I am — and the red marks indicate, obviously, the area wide fires, which are ongoing tonight:
Map, Todd Trumbull, Chronicle: original version here, along with captivating photographs.
And, more photographs from The San Francisco Chronicle, with this sad article about today’s loss of life by a heroic firefighter in the San Diego area — obviously, these are no ordinary fires, and all combined are making for a huge inferno in Southern California, and not under control, even now.
“This may be the worst fire disaster that the state has ever experienced,” said outgoing Governor Gray Davis after touring one of the key disaster areas in San Bernardino County, east of Los Angeles. “We have more acres burned now than the entire state of Rhode Island,” he said adding that the three worst fires were “nowhere near containment.”
All this from arsonists, it’s reported.