since i moved west/experienced fire seasons ive wondered what coverage of climate would be like if the east really experienced how apocalyptic these feel. east is not immune to disasters by any stretch but also have u seen twitter when there's a thunderstorm in nyc or snow in dc https://t.co/sDeYNYmROH
— Charlie Warzel (@cwarzel) September 9, 2020
I believe Charlie Warzel has a point.
All us East-Coasters can really offer, right now, is… thoughts & prayers. And maybe a place to vent…
But here’s a tip from commentor JaySinWA:
This may be a dead thread but even without A/C if you have central heating you can usually run the fan independent of heat and use high filtration filters to clean and move the air.
There is also the high filtration filter duct taped to a box fan to clean small areas of smoke particles.
Here’s a plan for a fancy version, but tape works fine. https://pscleanair.gov/525/DIY-Air-Filter
A lot of the pictures I’ve seen, of the sun being blotted out with the all orange skies, remind me of the sand storms I rode in the Middle East. Offering up all the good wishes/thoughts I can for you West Coasters. Stay safe! Let us know if we can do anything.
An area that we’ve seen here in one of my “On The Road” posts, Crystal Lake, is in the path of the Bobcat fire in the San Gabriels. They’re not spending alot of resources on that part of the fire(the north part) instead concentrating most of the fight on the south side where it is getting close to the foothill communities.
The horrors will soon be worldwide and you easterners will get your own versions sooner rather than later. The reason CA, OR, and WA have been ahead on environmental issues is that we have had the front row seat to all this for a couple of generations now.
I had a brief minute of fame and popularity in high school on the original Earth Day in 1970 when I got the whole school out of class to listen to speakers from the Sierra Club and other organizations. Nobody cared and between Nixon and Reagan I decided WASF.
I bought this air cleaner last month for my bedroom, but is still sitting in its box while I dither about which surface belonging to the cats it would survive the longest in.
(Sorry hands and phone not cooperating to link properly.)
We live in King County just outside a little town called Woodinville, WA. We’ve been using the furnace fan trick for a couple of years, because we don’t have AC and I’ve passed that along to a couple of people who hadn’t thought of it .
This has been a mild summer here, temps in the mid to high 70s, a few days over 80, although tomorrow it will be 91. We are coping pretty well with shut windows and portable fans. It’s mostly an inconvenience to us, not being able to sit in the garden without wheezing. the smokey haze is visible when we look at the house across the street, or just down our road a little distance.
We know we are lucky because we are not likely to be in the path of a fire, but our out-of-state family and friends have started fretting about us and calling to make sure our house isn’t burning down. People in the way of the fire are suffering terrible losses, one couple lost their year old son and suffered 3rd degree burns trying to escape the fire. They were found on the bank of the Columbia River. Whole towns have been destroyed and now they are being searched for survivors. There are places in Oregon just as bad, places in California that are terrible.
figure the east coast will get different extremes, flooding, snowfall, maybe an expansion of the tornadoes spinning up and maybe more hurricane action…. still, whole lotta work to do if we can get the adults back in charge…
@?BillinGlendaleCA: I saw that there were evacuation orders pending this morning for Arcadia, Azusa, Glendora, and Monrovia, and I’m guessing Sierra Madre is on the list. Part of my old stomping ground in HS, although my town was Temple City which doesn’t butt up against the foothills.
@piratedan: The west coast gets flooding too, which is just really swell after the brush has disappeared in a wildfire. I remember as a teenager seeing a reporter shoving a microphone into the face of a homeowner in LA County and asking, “How do you feel, watching your grand piano washing away down the road?”
The rivers on the west coast have been known to jump their banks in the spring.
@opiejeanne: Ms Martin is also from Temple City.
The fire had been growing more to the north, and so far the winds haven’t really shown up though this aft we were getting ash from the El Dorado fire about 40 miles away.
Sister Golden Bear
If East Coast media covered the West Coast the same way they cover the East Coast, there would be nearly 100 think-pieces and a half-dozen TV specials out by now.
Years ago I watched entire RVs get swept under the 101 bridge over of the Ventura River, during a post-fire storm. It’s particular bad in the SoCal area because the drop from the mountains to the sea is actually quite steep. Flood waters in the L.A. river can easily hit 30-40 mph.
Sister Golden Bear
Several towns between Ashland and Medford have been mostly burned to the ground. Medford was under evacuation order. Not sure about Ashland. None of them are in remote areas, they basically straddle I-5 in southern Oregon.
A friend of mine did two seasons at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and says that a number of long-time cast members who live in the area have lost homes. Not sure how close the fire is to OSF’s costume house, which is one of the largest in the nation and routinely supplies costumes and props to stage/TV/film productions around the country.
@Martin: Aren’t you behind the Orange Curtain? That’s a long way away, but not with the wind, I guess. I have friends from HS who live in Big Bear, and the El Dorado fire seems to be heading for them. We used to go to Oak Glen for apples every year, and that’s inside the fire zone map.
We saw sheets of burned paper floating out of the sky when we lived in Anaheim, just north of Anaheim HS. The fire that time was in Yorba Linda, not long after an earthquake knocked some houses off their foundations.
I remember more than once in the 1950s, standing in the field behind our house in Baldwin Park and being able to see Turnbull canyon on fire, to see the fireline itself.
Sister Golden Bear
@opiejeanne: The Big Bear area is also being evacuated. The main highway on the western side of the mountain is closed due to fire, so they’re having people leave through the “back door” route on the eastern side.
I recommend Mike Davis’ “Ecology of Fear” (1998) for (among other things) a really compelling analysis of fire and flooding in the Los Angeles basin. He brings together ecology, economic history and racial / class analysis to understand where we are and how we got here.
now I’m going to try to go to sleep and see if the sky is less orange in the morning.
Sister Golden Bear
The strangest thing about today’s Martian apocalypse sky was totally losing track of any sense of time because it was perpetual twilight all day.
@Sister Golden Bear: I saw that Medford was being evacuated, and that there was a fear that the whole town could go.
We used to drive I-5 from Washington to SoCal at least 4 times a year to visit my dad, since we moved here in 2010. We still had a little cabin in Blue Jay, near Lake Arrowhead until last spring when we sold it. They managed to save the downtown of Blue Jay in 2003, and our cabin was also saved because of its proximity to town, but I realized after the fires in Redding and Santa Rosa, and then the Camp Fire in Paradise, that there’s no way they can save the town the next time. It will all go, the restaurants, the really nice grocery store, the movie theater, the post office, everything will burn and I am too old to sift through the ashes of a place I love.
They talk to the sister, the father and the mother
With a microphone in one hand and a checkbook in the other
And the camera noses in to the tears on her face
The tears on her face
The tears on her face
You can put them back together with your paper and paste
But you can’t put them back together
You can’t put them back together
@Sister Golden Bear: Well, crap. I figured they’d have to take the back route. I can’t imagine the nightmare traffic going out that way.
Where we live now is on a very large, long hill, with maybe 1000 houses, semi-rural, and only three roads off of the hill. Two of the roads come through small rain forest-type canyons, and they’re generally too wet to burn, but with the dry winds we’re getting right now they might be persuaded to. Up until now I really haven’t worried about it, but tomorrow I’m going to plan what we would do if we ever needed to leave.
Yes, when I lived in San Jose in a house without a/c, I used the filter/fan trick. Plus to remove more gunk, I would spray the filter with Pam cooking spray. Worked really well.
I’m in the southern end of the Willamette Valley. We’re getting smoke from 3 of the fires and tomorrow after the wind changes we’ll get the smoke from the one in the Coast Range just outside of Lincoln City. The fire east of Eugene has devastated one of the most scenic areas in Oregon and several towns along a 30 mile stretch of Hwy 126. The Santiam fire exploded Monday night down the Santiam River canyon burning some towns to the ground. Governor Brown said today we should prepare for news of terrible destruction and loss of life as some areas were cut off so quickly that people may have been trapped by fire and falling trees.
I believe Oregon experienced a sampling of its future Monday evening. We had, here in the valley, something I can only describe as a Santa Ana wind event starting about 4:30 pm for where we are. We had blue skies with a little haze that quickly turned brownish with a rush of high east winds bringing dust from central Oregon. I’ve lived here 35 years and have never experienced anything like it.
Then the smoke came, turning the sky a darkening orange in about 15 minutes. The humidity dropped to single digits according to my weather instruments, leaving the mountains ripe for explosive fire development, which materialized in several areas by midnight.
Unfortunately, there isn’t enough personnel and equipment to fight all of these fires and air water drops are impossible with the thick smoke. They’ll continue to grow until conditions become more favorable for suppression tomorrow or Friday. My weather station shows 38% humidity at the moment, which is a good sign. There’s still smoke in the air out here in the valley, but it’s much better than earlier today. Thank goodness for our ductless heat pump and an air purifier as I have asthma.
This is our future, something I’ve been dreading for the past 10 years as our area became hotter and drier every summer. I expect to hear terrible news in the coming days as fire & rescue crews get back into some of the worst hit areas.
@John Revolta: Did. you write that? It’s very apt for the heartless reporting during a disaster.
In 2014 the little town of Oso disappeared when a hillside collapsed, killing at least 43 people. I’ve driven past Oso a couple of times on our way to someplace else. The river that runs through the area has changed its bed repeatedly, but that didn’t cause the collapse; it just made people rebuild their houses closer to the hill, out of reach of the river. Too many trees were removed from the top of the slope, even though there were warnings, and it rained long and hard, and the river was over its banks.
I don’t know if they ever found everyone.
@DivF: I remember reading City of Quartz and thinking it was the best thing I’d ever read about LA, or any city. But then again I was in college and disposed to such things.
@opiejeanne: Good idea to plan for evacuating. We live 9n the east side of Beacon Hill a block from a steep wooded hillside – greenbelt ‘ that runs 3 miles to the south and 5 miles north with one interruption. Treetops nearly touch where roads cross so in a wind they would transport embers the entire length. With the steady dry winds we’ve had for days the trees are dry and so is the leaf litter. Across the street from us are three 80 foot Ponderosa Pine and stressed Cedars. We get Santa Ana type winds from miles away at the Snoqualmie Valley which originate in eastern Washington. The pass is the lowest break in the Cascades between the Columbia and the Fraser Canyon in BC so winds can be strong.
I’ve been doing an inventory of what I’d take if time to go was short and if we had more time. Interesting thoughts.
@opiejeanne: I wish. There’s an Elvis Costello for every occasion! That one’s called “Pills and Soap” and it goes on to lay some on aristos and fake patriots in general.
What horrors will today bring?
Sister Golden Bear
Well, we now know the Pantone Color of the Year for 2020: End of Days Orange.
I think about when I worked in Utah in the 90’s and drove through an entire valley full of flammable non-native cheatgrass and Russian thistle (Skull Valley). Must be a lot worse now in terms of lost native plant acreage. And now the western forests. The only eastern analogue I can come up with is South Florida with all of the invasive plants and pythons and tegus. There are some noxious plants in the mid-Atlantic (tree of heaven, Knotweed, Japanese hops, garlic mustard) and insect pests that are taking down some tree species (ash borer; gypsy moth) but nothing that causes ecosystem/economic collapse. Maybe the spotted lantern fly will do it.
@Sister Golden Bear: Blaze Orange is also a contender. It matches many photos.
For long time Angelenos, shades of ochre aren’t exactly a novelty.
A Ghost to Most
The Cameron Peak fire threatening Rocky MTN NP was stopped/slowed by the ~16 inches is snow that fell Tuesday/Wednesday.
It might change how the Eastern Media covers climate change, but I’m not sure what sort of impact that would have. For the most part the issue isn’t convincing the New York and Boston areas that climate change is a threat. They majority of the population in those areas already supports more aggressive efforts to combat climate change.
Meanwhile, farmers everywhere have noticed shifting growing seasons, the Southeast and Gulf Coast get smacked with hurricanes, tornado alley has had some horrific years and everything to the west of that has seen more devastating fire seasons. They still in large part vote red. I don’t think coverage of climate change by the eastern media would change that, especially when the impacts of climate change are showing up in their own backyards has not.
Years ago, I read Marc Reisner’s book, Cadillac Desert, in which he prophesied that the warming and drying trends of the climate in the Southwest would render vast swaths basically uninhabitable. I don’t recall him specifically referring to the dangers posed by fire, but he did emphasize the unsustainable demands on water resources and electricity for A/C the region would need.
The West is facing all sorts of negative climate feedback loops and fire is one result. The question is how long can the region hold out before it collapses? And what will the rest of us do with the refugees?
In this time of Trump and pandemic there’s this feeling of relentless erosion of stuff you can count on—rules, laws, social norms. Until yesterday I still counted on the SUN COMING UP. Yesterday here in San Rafael in the North Bay, it didn’t. Eight-thirty in the morning I looked online for the sunrise time—6:45. Streetlights were on, inside the house I couldn’t see the dog.
We’ve had worse physically since last month—102 degrees with PG&E turning off the power (no fans or air filters.) Really toxic smoke. But the psychological impact of no sun, followed by a cancerous yellow/orange sky, is new.
My wife just came and said, “The air smells fine, and the sun came up.”
Here in Cali, it’s a new day!
Enhanced Voting Techniques
Good Lord, Nasa has a sat image of the west coast showing major fires every 50 miles from the Mexican to the Canadian borders.
The Seattle Times didn’t report any Covid results of any type on Tuesday because the fires had interfered with state health officials collecting the information.
@Mj_Oregon: I’m in the middle of the valley, and yes, it was something the way the afternoon transformed to dusk way ahead of schedule. Haven’t driven my car all week, it has a nice coating of ash all over it.
Thanks to Jay for the tip about running the fan on the heat system, just having some air movement really helps.
@Richard Guhl: Meanwhile, record-breaking floods are occurring in Sudan and other places in Africa.
I’m reminded that the Sahara used to have a huge freshwater lake, and not all that long ago…
Stay safe everyone. Good luck.
@JustRuss: I was out in the garden, watering in anticipation of a hot day, and I couldn’t tell if the little fluttering things that I saw now and then were moths or ashes. I haven’t found a layer of ash anywhere, so they were probably little moths, which is a relief.