||[Sep. 16th, 2014|11:35 am]
The air has been smoky since Sunday. A large fire got started in the mountains about 90 miles south of here on Saturday and has been spreading ever since. It has burned about 9000 acres so far, and is only 5% contained, so it's apt to be with us for quite a while unless we get a very large rain storm, which is extremely rare in September or even October. I know as soon as I smelled it Sunday morning that it was a forest fire a considerable distance off, as the smoke had the slightly sweet smell that pine wood smoke gets when it's had a chance to mellow.|
A smaller fire a bit closer, and on less rugged land, is already almost contained. A good-sized fire that started yesterday about 120 miles north of here has already devoured quite a few houses and other buildings around the lumber town of Weed, but I don't think we're smelling any of the smoke from that one. It's the one in El Dorado County that's stinking the place up.
September and October are usually the worst fire months in California, so there's nothing surprising about the current fires. We were lucky to have so little smoke in July and August, and September was almost half over when the current fires got started, so we're actually doing pretty well. But even if no new fires get started, it's now pretty much written in stone that early autumn is going to be stinky this year, and the light is going to have that yellowish cast it gets when the air is full of smoke. It could bring some pretty nice sunsets, though, and the moon could be a vivid orange when it rises, so it's not all downside.
When I went out an hour or so ago there was a woodpecker hammering away at a nearby tree. I couldn't see the bird, but the sound was clear. The bird has no idea. Lucky bird.