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Thread: Now Mt Diablo on fire

  1. #1
    Drew Wiley
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    Sep 2008
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    SF Bay area, CA
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    11,522

    Now Mt Diablo on fire

    Bad day for me. This afternoon a fire broke out on Marsh Cr Rd and rapidly spread uphill into a mixed area of private property and the State Park itself, just below Lion Point of the NW Peak of Diablo. I was there just a month ago on the last relatively cool day of June photographing the change of season colors, including a lot of tall dry grass. A lady on horseback had to dismount because her horse was spooked by my tripod and Sinar. I had already removed my darkcloth because that can really scare a horse if the wind waves it around. We had a friendly conversation about how beautiful the time of year is there, and I found out she had a forty acre ranch immediately adjacent to the Park. Well, in tonite's helicopter footage, you can see her big house and barn totally destroyed in mere seconds. There goes someone's dream retirement. I don't know if there was any time to evacuate the horses. But it has spread into some of the hiking trail areas. I hope some of the magnificent oaks in there survive. Sometimes grass fires move fast enough to spare trees. But there was terrible black smoke from where the Park parks its fuel and dozers, etc, ironically for making fire breaks, which weren't even vaguely effective this time. Second fire on the slopes of Diablo this month.

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Location
    San Joaquin Valley, California
    Posts
    8,474

    Re: Now Mt Diablo on fire

    Terrible news, Drew!
    Southern CA now has the arson caused ldyllwild fire to contend with as well.
    I steal time at 1/125th of a second, so I don't consider my photography to be Fine Art as much as it is petty larceny.
    I'm not OCD. I'm CDO which is alphabetically correct.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Location
    North Dakota
    Posts
    656

    Re: Now Mt Diablo on fire

    We will get to 68 for the high today. No wind - which is nice. Green hills and harvest for guys with Barley is starting. Hay fields being cut and baled - cultivated as well as Prairie Hay. Looking good. Early sunflower fields are blooming and look great. Canola fields in bloom as about half done now and flax is going good. Canola is blazing yellow, flax is blue flowers. Side by side they are an amazing sight.

    Timely rain has helped a lot though uncertainty on price has not. Neighbors driving loads of grain to Canada have put it on hold as prices dropped a lot with the tariff standoffs. One truckload (KW with full load of grain) would have dropped right at $30,000 due to it - overnight. The day before was good then the tariff stuff hit and prices dropped $2-3 a bushel.

    Only downside is some neighbors lost crops to hail over the last week. No flooding, just pounding crops into the ground, denting vehicles, rood damage and the like. More lucky than SW part of North Dakota with their Tornado a week or so ago - yep, it hit a trailer park.

    Hope we don't get prairie fires as they sweep across the landscape quickly in the winds.


    Good luck to all near the fires, to all in the heat wave areas and especially those in Hawaii anywhere close to the Volcanic action.
    I tend to procrastinate on stuff. One of these days I'll do something about it.

  4. #4
    Drew Wiley
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
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    SF Bay area, CA
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    11,522

    Re: Now Mt Diablo on fire

    Looks like they'll have it contained later today, but how many homes have been lost I don't know. There are rocky cliffs behind that section of the Park that prevent rapid fire uphill. It mostly moved into the meadows. What is really awful about this specific case is that I noted the exceptionally high level of grass this year and warned the lady about its risk so close to her own property. The she complained that in past years the Park plowed a fire break just inside their own fence at the Park boundary, but this year had refused to do so despite repeated requests. I don't know if that was a manpower or equipment breaking down issue, but it could very well result in a huge lawsuit if the fire happened to start on Park property. And she did lose everything. Her whole lifetime dream went up in smoke. Inside the Park, you'll get the normal of recovery of about forty years, but plenty of wildflowers in the meantime due to the fresh ash. It's too soon to know about the trees - lots of big "Valley" oaks, live oaks, digger pines, blue oaks. Mt Diablo is a bit of an island with flora sometimes reminiscent of the Sierra foothills, depending on elevation. Hope my wife doesn't come home sneezing. She works not far away, ironically in an allergy clinic, which indeed has a lot of patients this time of year regardless.

  5. #5
    Drew Wiley
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    Sep 2008
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    SF Bay area, CA
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    11,522

    Re: Now Mt Diablo on fire

    Hi Willie. Yeah, I remember bundling and packing huge 220 lb bales of hay in all-night panic mode when summer storms threatened. John K. would recognize the topography. This was on a ranch right beside Wilbur's, owned by the same people who for awhile owned the pack station up at Badger Flat above Huntington. But we also got a lot of hay bales from Wilbur Plaugher's own ranch area downhill - it was a half-million acre spread at that time, all the way from a few miles below Prather to the edge of Valley adjacent to Sanger. Then a very slow crawl in the big flatbed hay trucks uphill, with a coffee break at Shaver, and clear over Kaiser Pass at 2 or 3 mph to the corrals by Florence Lk and Mono Hot Springs. For outsiders, Kaiser Pass is a steep (up to 18% grade) one-lane road going up to around a 10,000 ft pass with no guard rails or turnouts large enough for a truck. Other drivers certainly weren't amused, but starting a heated argument with a family of cowboys all over 300 pounds and the attitude to go with it wasn't a wise idea - plus a skinny 115 lb 16-year old (me), who would have been merely a spectator, and was simply trying to recoup from those 16 hr shifts with 220 lb bales, as well as from bruises from getting bucked off half-wild mustangs.
    Last edited by Drew Wiley; 26-Jul-2018 at 15:25.

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Posts
    59

    Re: Now Mt Diablo on fire

    Burning feet from my in laws driveway (dirt road). He said it wasn't burning the trees, just the grass at least by his house.

    Click image for larger version. 

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  7. #7
    Drew Wiley
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    Sep 2008
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    SF Bay area, CA
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    Re: Now Mt Diablo on fire

    Thanks for the picture and update. I return to that general area about once a year late in the Spring or early summer when it's too hot to lug gear all the way to the top. But that is where the very steepest official trail in the Park starts as well, or even more strenuous off-trail routes. Either way can require dodging a fair amount of poison oak, especially in areas previously burnt.

  8. #8
    Drew Wiley
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    Sep 2008
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    SF Bay area, CA
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    11,522

    Re: Now Mt Diablo on fire

    The only silver lining to this cloud is that the lady's little dog, which was with her the day I met her horseback riding, somehow managed to escape the house unharmed. She was apparently away from home at the time, and fire fighters reunited her with the pet. I drive past that area quite a bit in cooler months on the way to numerous local trails. The placement of several homes up on the hill has always worried me with respect to fire risk. The privacy and views come
    with potential consequences. But this woman's place was fairly close to the highway, and they couldn't save it because the fire was moving so fast.

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