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View Full Version : Nor Cal, So Cal, Fire and smoke!



John Kasaian
9-Oct-2017, 18:00
Napa, Anaheim. Yikes!

Vaughn
9-Oct-2017, 18:42
We had a fire yesterday afternoon above town...about 25 acres. There were 5 or 6 aircraft in the air making water drops. They hit it hard while it was daylight and finished up after dark with ground crews. Impressive flying.

Much worse just down south...fires started in the early morning hours...over 1500 homes and/or structures already lost. Highway closed, hospitals evacuated.

John Kasaian
9-Oct-2017, 19:26
Vaughn, IIRC about this time of year the State owned tankers would be thinking about heading in for seasonal maintenance while the contract and Federal tankers would be fixing to be ferried to the Southeast for their fire season.
But I could be mistaken.
Preston would know.

tgtaylor
9-Oct-2017, 19:59
As if the fires in the north bay weren't enough a 4.1 magnitude earthquake occurred on the Cadaverous Fault in San Jose just before 6pm: http://www.mercurynews.com/2017/10/09/earthquake-magnitude-4-4-rattles-south-bay/. At the time I was photographing a fiery sunset at Ocean Beach with the big Pentax on Porta 160 in San Francisco but never felt it.

Fires, earthquakes, mass shootings, North Korea, Isis, Iran, Russia...something is going to happen.

Thomas

Vaughn
9-Oct-2017, 22:14
These were all California planes. Two of these sweet 'little' 4-engine jets, and a C-130, a couple smaller planes and a helicopter with a bucket. And the spotter.

Drew Wiley
10-Oct-2017, 10:09
The smoke here around the Bay is a bit annoying; but further north in the wine country, it's a real tragedy. A lot of those outlying burb structures like utility sheds, prop-up barns, and mobile home parks, contain highly flammable plastic components and aluminum siding, which burns very hot. And apparently, brush clearances aren't well enforced in that area. Of course, the predictable strong dry Oct winds were the main factor. I don't know what the death toll is so far; but last night ten were reported.

tgtaylor
10-Oct-2017, 10:21
The tide was outgoing for about 2 hours but still running at about 4 foot with good wave action. I shot it with the 200mm lens in landscape orientation. The perfectly spherical red sun shining through the smoke was ~ 1/3d down from the top of the frame and didn't require any exposure adjustment. Reflecting from the calmer water was a band of deep red light straight towards the camera which terminated in the wet sand at the bottom of the frame.

Thomas

tgtaylor
10-Oct-2017, 10:26
I just listened to the daily report and there is now 11 confirmed deaths with zero containment. New evacuation orders were issued for some localities and the fire officials said that they were concentrating on evacuations rather than containment which they said was "zero." Winds in that area were down but still offshore but forecast to continue to decrease. Air temperature is cooling and humidity rising.

Thomas

Jim Noel
10-Oct-2017, 11:19
These were all California planes. Two of these sweet 'little' 4-engine jets, and a C-130, a couple smaller planes and a helicopter with a bucket. And the spotter.

And yet there is only one copter on the huge Redwood complex fire just north of Ukiah.

Drew Wiley
10-Oct-2017, 14:10
Resources are stretched thin. I'd imagine the priority at the moment is first on human life, then on saving concentrations of homes. Thousands of structures have already burnt, and some of those neighborhoods were very pricey. But what is really sickening is that a lot of cops from here are being sent up there to restrict looting in the aftermath.

Vaughn
10-Oct-2017, 19:38
And yet there is only one copter on the huge Redwood complex fire just north of Ukiah.

Yeah -- our fire was the day before all hell broke loose in the south. Priority might be given to areas with homes in danger.

Drew Wiley
11-Oct-2017, 10:26
Some of those homes in Green Valley were multi-million dollar. Even the cars some of those people drove were worth more than my house. And there were some really interesting architectural things, as I recall. It's hard to tell at this point how much is left. I One major winery is gone, but most vineyards per se survived.

Vaughn
11-Oct-2017, 11:54
Drove thru Santa Rosa on Hwy 101 this morning. Not many homes in sight of the freeway, but many commercial buildings on both sides of Hwy 101 burnt to the ground. Trader Joes appears to be okay. I had to pay attention to driving so did not get a good look.

Drew Wiley
11-Oct-2017, 13:19
Horrible air quality here today. I'm getting itchy to get out hiking with the 8x10; but that's unrealistic now. Strong wind expected to return tomorrow; and they're hoping it will turn the flames reverse, back toward already burned areas. If not, more trouble.

nbagno
11-Oct-2017, 13:37
Work in the south bay, canít seethe hills due to the smoke


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tgtaylor
11-Oct-2017, 14:35
The poor air quality in the bay area is starting to go through the roof and is forecast to remain that was for the next 72 hours: http://50.57.200.217/about-air-quality/current-air-quality/air-monitoring-data?DataViewFormat=daily&DataView=aqi&StartDate=10/11/2017&ParameterId=316

Thomas

John Kasaian
11-Oct-2017, 20:07
Bad air quality down here in Fresno, too---we can smell the smoke and visibility isn't good. The schools even cancelled outdoor activities. I just saw a couple outside Barnes & Nobles wearing face masks.

Willie
12-Oct-2017, 06:34
In looking at the photos of burned places I see a lot of trees, shrubs and the like right up to the homes and buildings. I have lived in areas prone to forest fires and we always kept the growth trimmed way back from the buildings for fire safety. Even had Forest Service fire specialists come in and help with it as well as recommend better ways to prepare. Water barrels, etc were part of it.

Is having all the plant growth so close one of the reasons so many places have burned?

It is sad to see and I think it would be worse for folks knowing they 'should have' kept plant growth down near the homes and buildings. I hope rains come in and help put out the fires.

What happens when the fires are out and the winter rains start up? Will these areas be mudslide prone?

John Kasaian
12-Oct-2017, 06:43
This is a Historic fire for Calif.
The destruction in the aftermath needs to be visually documented after the fires are out.
So far I gather that quite a few historic structures may have been lost.

John Kasaian
12-Oct-2017, 06:51
What happens when the fires are out and the winter rains start up? Will these areas be mudslide prone?
The hillsides definitely will be. The rivers will be a mess a well.
The tragic loss of life is sobering
I wonder what the property loss will do to the tax base and how many hits the insurance industry can take with all the natural disasters this year?

Drew Wiley
12-Oct-2017, 08:36
Relatively speaking, farms and vineyards have been spared, being on bottomland. It's the brushy hills and suburban development in those areas that has been catastrophically affected, along with adjacent city areas. Little of this is under Forest Service jurisdiction. It is not an area particularly prone to mudslides, just minor slumps in winter. The finger pointing of blame is just beginning. Heavy winds knocked over some trees, bringing down power lines and popping a few transformers. Our giant utility provider has tended to subcontract the necessary tree trimming to a lot of questionable outfits. But there are, at the same time, literally hundreds of millions of dead trees in the state due to drought and especially pine beetles; so it's an almost overwhelming problem overall. But having lived through several major fires myself without any loss, it amazes me how negligent some property owners and jurisdictions are about brush clearances.

Leszek Vogt
12-Oct-2017, 10:11
Trees and brush offer shade and give privacy....it's a wonderful deflection for the harsh sun. However, that should be done responsibly. The brush tends to be right down explosive after so many years of drought and v. often it's a repeat of the history. No doubt Preston would verify this. I look at the photos and feel for the folks effected....it reminds me of several WW II visuals.

Les

tgtaylor
12-Oct-2017, 10:28
A lot of the destruction occurred in the city, e.g., Santa Rosa, where the structures are situated close together. In such a setting it is impossible to clear a defensive zone around your house as its the guy's house next door that's going to catch fire and spread to yours, not the garden brush or tree.

Thomas

Drew Wiley
12-Oct-2017, 14:56
Yeah, over in a part of Santa Rosa facing the hills, and where there's a lot of commercial development involving highly flammable building materials like vinyl and aluminum. Now the fires are headed toward where there are quite a few cute woodsy old homes in the forest with wood shingle siding. The air quality has slightly improved here; but it's still too sneezey to be outdoors, so it's been a darkroom day for me. Have some very nice prints in the washer right now, but am a bit anxious because I've been unable to reach friends in the North Bay. Most of them live outside the fire zone per se, and this is most likely a loss of cell tower situation ... but still it's worrisome.

tgtaylor
12-Oct-2017, 16:35
Just got finished developing the C-41 from the past couple of days of shooting. The negatives look good and are hanging to dry. While I was waiting for the developer to come up to the proper temperature, I suddenly got the idea that I should have shot a couple of frames with the 120 soft focus: I think that would enhance the image. Next time.

According to the air quality agency, todays air quality is worst today in many location than yesterday. Although last nights wind event didn't materialize as bad as expected, another round of offshore wind is due in tomorrow .as is expected to be worse. New evacuations are still taking place in the north bay.

Thomas

Graham Patterson
13-Oct-2017, 08:56
There's a little rain forecast (in so far as any forecast a week out is reliable around here) for late next week. I doubt it will do much for the fires, but it might clean the air a bit. I work in the hills above Berkeley, and the smoke is just sitting across the Bay. The webcam (The View) at www.lawrencehallofscience.org shows it pretty well.

Drew Wiley
13-Oct-2017, 09:47
Interesting. I drove over the top there above Tilden one day this past summer, and was astounded to see how much grass and brush had accumulated around houses and barns the moment I hit the Lafayette city limit line. The very next week, there was that fire above Lawrence Hall. Reminds me of twenty years ago when I was pleading with a rich young couple to badger the city to cut the dead eucalyptus trees in the vacant lot across the street. Nothing was done, and that was exactly where the catastrophic Oakland Hills fire began the next month. That couple was among the first to lose their home, along with its muti-million dollar art collection. Now a lot of attention is being paid to the hills, but both Berkeley and Oakland are having an epidemic of industrial and warehouse fires due to negligence in those neighborhoods.

tgtaylor
13-Oct-2017, 09:51
There's a big discrepancy between the national park's air quality rating and the air quality board's. Both measure particulate concentrations in micrograms/m^3. The lowest reading so far in todays bay area reading is 60 (Sebastopol) which the air quality board classifies as "moderate" (51-100) but the NPS rate as "unhealthy" (55.5-150.5).

Thomas

Luis-F-S
13-Oct-2017, 10:02
And the Federal Government's response is?????

tgtaylor
13-Oct-2017, 10:37
Napa photographer looses studio, art, and house: http://www.sfgate.com/art/article/A-photographer-loses-studio-and-art-but-never-12274069.php#photo-14337448

Thomas

tgtaylor
13-Oct-2017, 11:02
And the Federal Government's response is?????

9:15 p.m. Federal aid for Sonoma County residents: The Federal Emergency Management Agency said Sonoma County residents whose homes or businesses have been damaged or destroyed can apply for federal disaster aid to help cover their losses. The grants, which do not have to be repaid, are for temporary housing, essential home repairs, and property losses not covered by insurance. The Small Business Administration is making low-interest loans available for businesses of any size, nonprofits, homeowners and renters for losses not covered by insurance. FEMA said other counties and possibly other types of assistance would be made available in the near future.

Thomas

Willie
14-Oct-2017, 10:17
Remember in 1997 LIFE magazine photographer Peter Stackpole lost almost all of his 60 years of negatives and chromes to the Oakland Hills fire. He also lost his home as did many others.
I wonder if those with photo collections, film or digital in these current fires have any protection for them?

Either way the area is a major disaster. Whole neighborhoods wiped out. So many folks dead. All they need now is the return of the massive rainstorms and then a big earthquake and the Okies will be moving back to Oklahoma.

Or, as one wag joked - I hope Trump waits to deport all the illegal aliens til after they clean up the mess and rebuild the houses.

Merg Ross
14-Oct-2017, 15:19
Remember in 1997 LIFE magazine photographer Peter Stackpole lost almost all of his 60 years of negatives and chromes to the Oakland Hills fire. He also lost his home as did many others.
I wonder if those with photo collections, film or digital in these current fires have any protection for them?

Either way the area is a major disaster. Whole neighborhoods wiped out. So many folks dead. All they need now is the return of the massive rainstorms and then a big earthquake and the Okies will be moving back to Oklahoma.

Or, as one wag joked - I hope Trump waits to deport all the illegal aliens til after they clean up the mess and rebuild the houses.

Peter Stackpole and I went through the 1991 fire here in the Oakland Hills. We lived about four blocks from each other. The fire crossed over Highway 24 and destroyed Peter's house late morning. He had very little warning and no electricity. By flashlight, he grabbed what negatives he could and packed up his two cars. One car would not start and was abandoned. By noon, his property was ash. We were luckier; the winds and flames subsided in the early evening. We learned the next morning that our house was spared, and were allowed back in the neighborhood two days later. My heart goes out to those dealing with loss from the current fires to the north.

Peter lost most of his negatives, but had a bit of luck. In preparation for an upcoming retrospective exhibition early in 1992, a very large collection of his photographs was in storage at the Oakland Museum. He never rebuilt.

tgtaylor
14-Oct-2017, 20:02
The current air quality where I live is "good" - PM reading is 23 - and the best it's been since last Sunday. Its forecast to go back to "unhealthy" tomorrow so I have all the windows open to exchange the air in the apartment while the good air is available. Although the fires are still going, it's been a good day overall in NorCal and there's light at the end of the tunnel.

Thomas

Vaughn
14-Oct-2017, 20:07
We have a couple new fires up in the Mad River watershed -- I am only 6 miles from the coast and the fires are way up in the upper part of the watershed. The town of Mad River may not fair too well.

John Kasaian
14-Oct-2017, 20:35
Stay safe, Vaughn!

Vaughn
14-Oct-2017, 22:04
The fires are way too far up in the watershed to endanger Blue Lake -- but they could get into the Yolla Bollys which have taken a few big hits over the years since I worked there...the worst in 2008...makes backpacking up there difficult.

rorye
15-Oct-2017, 13:38
I was evacuated in Napa, fire came within a couple of blocks. I feel very lucky and sad for those who weren't so lucky.

Drew Wiley
15-Oct-2017, 14:25
The air temporarily cleared here; but the pillar of smoke to the north looks like an A-bomb mushroom cloud at the moment. Evidently, the fires are far from contained.

Vaughn
15-Oct-2017, 15:15
Cleared of smoke particles, but still considered unhealthy yesterday. I heard there are a lot of micro-particles in the air that one does not see -- plastics and other strange chemicals from burnt houses and businesses. Great time for me to be in the Bay Area! Reminds of the good old days in LA -- growing up in the 60s with smog alerts.

Drew Wiley
15-Oct-2017, 18:19
Gosh. I pulled out the window screens and hosed them off this afternoon, full of brown grit. And the sky might look blue; but I go outside, I start sneezing. Our house cats are sneezing. I resorted to a plain water stop bath yesterday to avoid turning on the fan and bringing in outside air. I shouldn't complain. Some people have lost everything.

tgtaylor
17-Oct-2017, 11:16
Expect 2018 California wine prices to increase: http://www.sfgate.com/wine/article/List-of-wineries-damaged-in-the-Wine-Country-fires-12267422.php

Thomas

mpirie
17-Oct-2017, 13:22
There's a lot of smoke in the Owens Valley too, though i believe it's caused by the fires in Sequoia NP.

Locals have advised that they expect the wind direction to change on Thursday in time for the snow on Friday.

Mike

tgtaylor
18-Oct-2017, 11:39
The air quality over a wide swath of the northern sierra has really deteriorated: PM2.5 readings are in the upper 180's for Bridgeport, Bodie, Lee Vining, Mammoth Lakes, Yosemite Valley, Modesto. They begin to ease towards Bishop on the east side and Fresno in the west. Here in the bay things went downhill yesterday but are a little better today.

Thomas