Saturday, July 14, 2007

Fire season

Since getting back to CA, I've been suffering-burning eyes, drippy nose, irritated itchy sinuses. I took allergy meds and they did nothing. Nada. Zip. Zilch. At first, I thought it was just a bit of reaction to jet lag and air travel. Then, yesterday at work, they talked about the fire raging not far from here.

Oh, yeah! Duh. I forget I live in the land of fire now.

The land here is chaparral and a quote:
Chaparral is characterized as being very hot and dry. As for the temperature, the winter is very mild and is usually about 10 °C. Then there is the summer. It is so hot and dry at 40 °C that fires and droughts are very common. (Oh goody!!)

It's so easy to forget because I don't see the fire burning. It's miles away. But it's still sending crap into the air, those tiny particulates that just irritate the hell out of my respiratory system! ARGH! However, it does explain why the sunset was so dang gorgeous these past couple of days. And there is nothing I can do except for close all the windows and just stay inside. Dude, it's summer (and I have no AC)!! Who wants to do that???

Unfortunately, this is just the beginning of the season and I'm worried it's going to get ugly this year. Usually, the summer brings fire and the winter brings rain. I remember last fall people telling me that the winters are quite wet here. I don't remember getting much rain though. And I have a vague memory of watching the news and them reporting that the rainfall wasn't up where it should be to prevent a nasty fire season. Oh great.

The fire burning now, called the Zaca Fire, has burned over 13,000 acres and they don't really know when it'll be contained. On one hand, it is the natural cycle of the land here. The dry brush is adapted to fires each year; some plants need the fires to break the seed pods open and let the plant reseminate, which is all fine and dandy except for those people that have made their homes there. Yes, it may be a natural cycle, but that's not much of a consolation when your house is gone up in smoke. Just like Florida gets the hurricanes, the west gets fire (actually, Florida gets fires too, but the high humidity usually helps weigh all the gunk down and a good hurricane will help squelch fires.) The BBC has some excellent photos here.

So, even though it's depressing when the skies turn gray and it drizzles all day, I am now hoping for rain.


Matt said...

I hate dry bush.

(They should get the president and his men in there to clear all that brush out of there. Just some guys rolling up their shirt sleeves, some goggles and chainsaws and you're all set.)

willowtree said...

Don't worry about the fires, the mudslides will put them out.

Claudia said...

matt...ah,yeah, ok...

Willow, HA. Good thing I wasnt drinking anything, it would have sprayed all over the computer!

Melissa said...

Your SoCal fires make me love my NorCal fog even more. ;)

I hope you feel better soon. Too much yuck in the air!

Pamela said...

we've got the red sun and the haze - I don't know what's burning but I'm sure I'll find out (we had a huge lightning storm roll through here like the polar express, except the polar opposite)

Claudia said...

Pamela, the sunsets really are stunning aren't they? and so unhealthy...more polarity!!

Glamourpuss said...

God, please, no! No rain! I'm all rained out.