Fire Season

Fire season has begun in the Western states, according to CNN and Reuters. CNN reports that there are 62 fires burning right now, and 16 of them are new and big.

View of Diablo Range from Mt. Hamilton

About a week ago, we visited Lick Observatory on Mt. Hamilton (an area surrounded by dry grass hills, and difficult to access because of the extremely curvy roads), and I noticed that staff were walking around with people from the fire department. In the distance, I saw a plume of smoke rising up, somewhere in the hills to the West, and thought — oh, looks like fire season.

Part of Lick Observatory buildings and grounds on Mt. Hamilton. You can just barely see the smoke plume in the distance, to the right of the buildings. By late afternoon, the smoke had darkened and dispersed over the city of San Jose; the air looked (more) smoggy.

A lot of fires means the air gets hazy with smoke (or worse — gritty); Because I have asthma and hay fever, I tend to stay indoors more often when there are a lot of fires, even when they are not in the immediate area. I’ve seen first-hand what it’s like to have a grass fire suddenly appear nearby (talk about alarming!), so I’m glad that we are more or less prepared.