Posted by: GeekHiker | October 22, 2007

Surrounded by Smoke

Originally I was going to put up Saturday’s hike tonight, and I will at some point (the post is partially written, pictures have been selected, etc.), but somehow I feel like posting about the fires again.

Can’t help it. Mother Nature on this magnitude always puts me in awe.

Driving home from work, I looked around and found LA to be nearly surrounded by smoke.

To the west, out over the ocean, smoke from Malibu drifted

To the south and the east, the skies were brown with smoky haze. The color of the light was slightly orange.

In fact, the only thing that wasn’t covered in smoke was the Angeles National Forest, and I can’t help but wonder if it isn’t just a matter of time. Though, of course, fingers crossed that it isn’t.

It’s a bit surreal. I went to work today, and then afterwards to the gym, as if everything was normal. Meanwhile, the mountains around Southern California are turning into Dante’s Seventh Level of Hell.

Sunset, in fact, was a repeat of last night. Carbon-copy.

Even more surreal, there’s already a Wikipedia article.

According to the news tonight, the area is up to 16 fires. There just isn’t enough manpower to go around. They knew the winds were coming, and had mobilized forces beforehand, but there was no way of knowing it would be like this, with so many burning simultaneously. So they’re bringing in people and equipment from all over.

I remember, as a kid, when the fires in Yellowstone occurred in 1988 (fascinating article here). We traveled there both the year before and the year after the fires, and the difference was startling.

One thing I also remember: the firefighters, for all their efforts, did not put the fires out.

The September snow did.

While there will be no snow here, a change in the weather is what’s really needed. And sooner rather than later.

Still, it’s always amazing how, despite disaster happening just a few miles away, life here in the city proceeds pretty much normally. Here I sit, typing a post, watching “Chuck” in the background, as if nothing special were different about the day.

Hopefully the fires will be out soon, no more homes are burnt and (completely selfish and totally minor) my favorite trails survive.



  1. I’d like to echo your hope that the fires will be out soon. Too many lives have been displaced and too much nature has been destroyed. With these fires and the Zacca fire from last July-August, I’ve have my fill and then some.

  2. Wow, you had normal television!? We just got normal tv back last night. It was a nice change from news 24/7! 🙂 I’m so happy to get a little normalcy back. Thanks for all of your comments!!

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