September 16th, 2020

laszlo moholy-nagy_chx

Reset Twelve, Day Eleven

It was Tuesday again. Every damn week there's a Tuesday. It gets so monotonous. Here, it was a bit more interesting than some Tuesdays, though, since the firefighting aircraft have been airborne again. Some big, noisy turboprop tanker woke me up not long after dawn, and they went over the neighborhood every twenty minutes of so all day long. They were heading west and probably going to the enormous collection of fires called the August Complex, which is nearing 800,000 acres and only 30% contained. The three major fires in or near the bay area are now almost 100% contained, and hopefully won't be expanding now.

The local Bear fire is still only 32% contained, after burning close to 280,000 acres. It is also the deadliest of the current fires, with 15 of the state's total of 25 fatalities. Only two people are still missing from the area though, and evacuation orders have been lifted for many of the areas around the fire. Currently the fires with the greatest threat to life and property are the Creek fire in Fresno County, 220,000 acres and 16% contained, and the Bobcat fire in Los Angeles County, which was 6% contained Monday but slipped to 3% containment Tuesday.

For the Bobcat fire, parts of the city of Arcadia have been evacuated, and parts of Duarte, Bradbury, Monrovia, Sierra Madre, Pasadena, and Altadena are still under evacuation warnings. This fire is getting very close to the Mount Wilson Observatory and nearby radio and television transmission towers, which between them have a value of close to one billion dollars. Also, the suburban, mostly residential neighborhoods threatened are among the most expensive in the state. This year's fires are already close to being the most costly in California's history, and the loss of the expensive technology on Mount Wilson, not to mention all the pricey houses in the foothills, would be a severe blow to the insurance companies. Nobody will want to sell fire insurance to Californians after this.

The air was a bit less foul Tuesday, which is why the planes were flying, but it was by no means pleasant. Thursday could get nastier for the firefighters as the wind is expected to pick up again, but Friday it's expected to be partly cloudy and to get up to only 78 degrees, and there is even a 10% chance of rain, though that seems very unlikely to happen. Maybe we'll get a sprinkle or two here and there. After that we are back to sunny (except for the smoke) days in the eighties. Still, I'm beginning to suspect that there's some chance I'll actually survive this summer, though I don't intend to bet on it. We shall (assuming I do survive) see.