Fire season comes to southern California

The monster rains of last winter meant huge amounts of new brush grew in the mountains. Yesterday the Santa Ana winds blew. They come from the east, from the deserts, and are gusty and bone dry, plus it was 96. There were several fires. It’s difficult to tell from this photo of the northwestern San Fernando Valley, but there appear to be at least three separate fires burning, judging from the plumes of smoke (or maybe they are the hotspots in one big fire.)

It’s the brush in the mountains that does it. It is tinder dry and it’s not unusual for it to be 4-6 feet tall and impenetrable to walk through. Couple that with steep mountainsides, few roads, and you can understand how hard these fires can be to put out. Until they reach populated areas that is, then there are roads – and then it gets much more dangerous.

PS Today the Santa Anas aren’t blowing as much but it’ll be 103. (By Sunday it’s supposed to be a mere 80, we shall see.)

Updates: The fire has burned over 17,000 acres, thus the photo is of one fire. 5% contained as of 3:30 PT.

6:00 pm. The winds have shifted, blowing the smoke directly into the San Fernando Valley. The sky in the west is filled with smoke, ashes are falling, the smell of smoke is everywhere. And we’re probably 8 miles due east of the fire. This is a big fire.