Fire Season is Officially Upon Us

And, may I take a moment to whine and say how much I hate it?!

We had amazing temperatures this past week or so. I’ve been enjoying the cool weather and being able to have my windows open all day and not feel like I’m baking. But that’s all going to change tomorrow night. Thursday and Friday, at least, are going to be nasty. We’ve got Santa Ana winds in the forecast. Those are never fun!

For everyone not in Southern California who has no idea what Santa Ana’s are, let me explain a little. In the Autumn and Winter when a high pressure system settles over the desert, it causes the air to move away towards areas of lower pressure. Since the deserts are at a higher elevation than places along the coast, it moves downhill. As this air moves, it heats up and loses almost all humidity content. The winds are usually the worst in the passes of the local mountain ranges, where they can overturn tractor trailers and completely wreck traffic. They’re very difficult to drive in. By the time the air makes it down the mountains and reaches us here in the Southland, it’s usually around 100° with humidity in the teens or single digits.

This air also sucks almost every drop of moisture out of the vegetation in the wild land areas, such as the Foothills and San Gabriel and San Bernardino mountains. Since we’re already in a severe drought, this is even more dangerous. The label the weather people around here use for the Santa Ana’s is “fire weather” and “fire season”, because this is usually when devastating fires start and, being fueled by high winds, burn out of control for days. I’m especially not looking forward to this part of the Santa Ana’s.

Last year, the Colby Fire burned just north of where I live. I took a video using my phone while driving home from dropping my husband off at work.

Excuse the white orb in the lower right hand corner. That’s my phone’s holder, and I couldn’t seem to move my phone enough to get that out of the shot.

I’m not worried about fires burning my house down, because I don’t live right up against the hills, but the air quality is so poor when fires happen that it’s very difficult to breathe outside. This means that even if the temperatures are nice outside, I’ve got to close up my windows and turn on my air conditioner to keep from having to breathe this smoke and having everything in my house covered in a layer of soot and ash. It also isn’t very nice to your vehicle. This ash covers everything, even vehicles parked under an awning, and it’s corrosive, so you want to wash it off as soon as possible to save your paint job.

I think it goes without saying that the end of this week has me worried. I’m not thrilled with the prospect of another giant wildfire around here. I can do without the excitement, and I very much can do without the smoke! I’d also be pleased as punch to avoid the high temperatures. Santa Ana winds just aren’t my thing!



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