Tag Archives: wildfire

Whittier Fire Continues

Santa Barbara fire map with recent fires_1499724149968_7424712_ver1.0

The day has a color to it and a faint taste. ┬áThe Whittier Fire has burned over 10,800 acres so far, and the sky is hazed by a strange warm hue. From the detail map it seems that a fierce defense of the two peaks which carry most of our communications may have been successful, but as I noted before if any of you find it difficult to reach family or friends in this area of Southern California, don’t panic– communications may be challenged.

I can only salute the extraordinary fire respondents in all roles, who put themselves in harm’s way to protect the rest of us who go about our daily lives with little more than a feeling of anxiety, refreshed every so often by a look at the alien sky. I think this will be a long fight.

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updates and smoke in the air

Splendid day with John and Carmen who arrived at nine AM. We talked so much it was hard to get us out the door to hike in to one of our old sites. Upper Dutch Diggins yielded a fine day of fossils, leaves and fruits and seeds all original organic material, and a renewal of a delightful friendship between families. Sun and sweat and discoveries are the finest of things to share. We were so sorry to say goodbye after dinner and watch John and Carmen head off home, a good couple of hours drive for them. John said he might be back in a couple of days but we weren’t quite sure how long we’d stay, with our own work calling us home.

Kid woke us at 3AM. “Sorry,” she said, looming out of the black night with her headlamp in hand, “but I had to wake you. Don’t you smell smoke?”

A great wake-up. Nothing like the jolt of adrenaline to get you going in the dark.

Yep. Not a little smoke, but when we went out walking about the bunkhouse, smoke you could see against the tall trees, fuzzing their outlines. Husband deliberated, so did I. He realized the wind direction was the issue, and I noted that although the smoke was present, we saw no glow and there were no ashes falling.

However we did go up the long rutted road and unlocked the gate to the mine, dragged it open, so that if an evacuation was in order it would be easier for the locals to see we were in residence and alert us, and so that our departure could be efficient and fast. We’ve felt fires closer than this and been spared evacuation. One more point, there wasn’t any traffic on the main highway up above the bunkhouse, and if the fire were drawing near there would be. Went back to bed. Can’t say it was a great sleep but we woke to a smoggy-looking morning.

Another day of fossil prospecting in the area with variable results, but we made sure to check in at the LaPorte Store, where scant news was available. Some reassurance that the fire wasn’t an immediate threat to our area. Despite the oppression of a long day filled with smoke from the Chip Fire, we saw it begin to rise at the end as the wind shifted again and we could see some blue sky by evening.

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