Posted by: GeekHiker | October 21, 2007

So Much for Today’s Hike

This weekend was going to be a two-fer: hikes both Saturday and Sunday. I was feeling good, the weather was supposed to be warm, it was going to be great.

Saturday’s hike came off without a hitch (post will be up tomorrow night).

Today was a completely different story.

Heading down the highway, a SIG Alert sign let me know that PCH was closed. Turning on the radio, I found out that there was a fire in Malibu that had closed the highway. There was also one burning up near the west end of the Angeles National Forest.

Winds in the Angeles had been measured as gusting up to 108 miles per hour. One hundred eight.

I decided to turn around and spend the day at home.

That was this morning. As I write this tonight, there are 12 13 fires burning around Southern California, and the winds that are driving them aren’t expected to stop until Tuesday night.

As the sun set to the west, it did so through smoke blowing off shore.

Fire Sunset

Sunset through offshore smoke

This type of system, the Santa Ana winds blowing in hot out of the desert and fueling these storms, is not uncommon this time of year. That’s why the smoke is off shore; usually the wind comes in from the ocean, not towards it. Combined with the drought leaving everything bone dry, it’s a tinderbox waiting for a light.

Even though I know that fires are important and necessary to the health of both chaparral and forests, it’s still painful to watch it go up in flames. Even worse is watching buildings, churches and people’s homes burn.

And it’s hard not to wonder if this isn’t a portent of things to come.

Cross your fingers for the firefighters, folks. They’re brave people doing a tough job under impossible conditions, and for the next couple of days they are going to be far, far too busy.



  1. oh GH, I hope your fave hiking spots aren’t singed! of course you found a way to find some beuty in all of it – gorgeous pic.

  2. Not hiking on Sunday was a very smart decision. Here in Oxnard we could hardly breath inside our home with all the windows closed. Our eyes are all itchy today and the winds are still blowing hard making it all worse. Definitely not hiking weather.

  3. charlotte – No idea, there’s so many fires that will burn for the next couple of days it’s inevitable that something will go up in smoke. Thanks for the compliment on the pic; shame it isn’t under better circumstances.

    Homer-Dog – Yeah, I agree. Saw the pictures on your site of the sky around you, it’s insane. Stay indoors and take care of yourselves.

  4. I’m still bummed about some of the Griffith Park trails being closed. I hope they get this fire contained. The pics were really awful, especially the ones showing fields on fire right across the street from family neighborhoods.

  5. quirkygirl – I dunno, they’re stretch pretty thin right now. Fire is part of the nature of chaparral, but this is pretty bad. Hopefully not too many more homes are lost…

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