California Brushfire, 23 October 2007

The sun blotted out, as viewed in my backyard in the San Fernando Valley north of Los Angeles.  It would ordinarily be a bright, sunny day.  All that is smoke from the brushfire, not clouds.  This is probably mostly smoke from Porter Ranch, maybe some from Malibu, facing west. 

As of this writing (23 October 2007), over a million people have been forced from their homes as firemen wage battles with cataclysmic fires from San Diego to Santa Barbara.

Much of the problems of the rampant fires in California right now are due more to population explosions - mankind's encroachment on the wilderness, and particularly, dry brush areas. Many, if not most, of the fires are due to people. Downed power lines, ignition/heat from cars, cigarette butts, and obviously arson are the main contributors to these brushfires.

I'm miles away from the Porter Ranch fire and it still looks this bad...

View down my street, San Fernando Valley.  Normally, the sky would be blue and sunny, but instead looks almost as if it's raining over the San Gabriel Mountains.  Unfortunately, that's smoke from numerous brushfires (Porter Ranch, Stevenson Ranch, Castaic, Canyon Country...) as I'm facing north.

What has happened here in California is that two years ago, we got a fair amount of rain, esp. in the hills, which produced extra vegetation.

Then, a year ago, we had the dryest summer we've had in 130 years.

You can guess where I'm going with this, and you'd be right. All that extra vegetation became very very dry.

And now, it's burning.

With unrelenting 60-mile an hour Santa Ana winds whipping it into a frenzy.

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