Report from apocalyptic Southern California

in fire •  8 days ago

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Image courtesy of Ventura Country Fire Department PIO

For those who haven't heard, there's a massive devastating wildfire burning right now in Ventura Country, California. I live about 40 minutes downwind of the evacuation zone, so I'm currently hiding inside my house from the cloud of choking smoke and the ashes that are swirling around. Earlier today I had to run some errands, and I captured this photo of the lagoon on the campus of UCSB:

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Photo by @biophil

Normally you'd be able to see the ocean out beyond those distant buildings, but there's too much smoke in the air. Enough smoke that I pulled off my undershirt and made an impromptu breathing mask:

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Photo by @biophil

Why have the fires been so devastating? It's a phenomenon called the Santa Ana Winds. We get essentially two kinds of wind here: the nice cool ones that blow in from the ocean, and the nasty hot dry ones that blow in from the inland deserts. The nasty ones are the Santa Anas. They're semi-seasonal, and from what I've read it's typical that we get winter rains before the Santa Anas start in earnest, so the ground is nice and wet when the hot dry wind starts to blow and that wet decreases the fire danger.

Unfortunately, we haven't had real rain here in many months, but the Santa Anas have arrived. So that means if a fire starts, the hot dry winds fan it into a horrific, apocalyptic firestorm that spreads without stopping to the ocean. This satellite photo from earlier today shows the prevailing winds coming down from the inland deserts and blowing the smoke out to sea. I'm sitting on that red dot, right in the path of the smoke:

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Courtesy of a very cool NASA website that gives daily satellite photo snapshots

There have been tens of thousands of evacuations from the city of Ventura, and every time I check the map, it seems like the evacuation zone has grown. If helping disaster victims is the sort of thing you like to do, Google makes it very easy to donate for this disaster in particular. Just google "thomas fire" and scroll down till you see the button that says "Yes, Donate."

I plan to donate this post's liquid proceeds to help with disaster relief.

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I know this is so terrible my heart is breaking and I feel for everyone that is going through this and are losing their homes and their whole life is changing and you can't help but wonder what really is going on this is just so freaky and I hope that everyone stay safe and can be positive about this situation and just do their best to live with hope and have a life after all this, be well be safe @biophil

it s a real fire?

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so bad and i like your post and very importent post so thans for sharing

Oh my god! SCARY!!! Jesus. Be safe I hope the fires die down asap, that shit is crazy!

Jeez! I grew up down there and those santa ana winds are crazy especially if there is a fire. Stay safe!

I heard it broke a few records.

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Sounds right to me. I know that even before the SoCal fires started a couple days ago, 2017 was the worst fire year on record for California. Now it's like the super-worst.

I'm sorry to hear that you are so close to it, @biophil! I hope you will make it out okay! Hopefully the fire will die down soon before it can do any more damage.

Stay safe Biophil, resteemed to my 4500 followers!

Good luck @biophil. I'm so sorry for what you and your community's going through. I hope you get some pay-out from steemit and you stay safe. Resteemed <3