Wild View Yonder

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Sunday, October 21, 2007

Southern California Firestorm: Ground Truth

Beginning on October 21, fierce winds fanned the flames of at least 11 large fires in Southern California. After a long dry spell there was plenty of fuel for the fires to consume. As of this posting, the winds continue to blow and the flames continue to spread, threatening many residential areas. As of this writing, some homes have already been lost but many more are in danger.

Incident information

NASA MODIS/EOS Satellite Imagery

Smoke billows from the Castaic fire; the sun filters through.

A wide view over the lake.

A closer view.

Smoke starting to fill valleys and canyons in the Santa Clarita area.

Smoke from the Agua Dulce fire seen from highway 14 looking across Vasquez Rocks County Park.

The view from the slanted rocks in the previous image.

Amidst the chaos, a tranquil scene.

Down the road, flames can be seen on the hillside.

A little closer, it becomes apparent just how huge this one fire is. And how close to neighborhoods.

Helicopters of various descriptions work to protect homes and fight the fire.

A Sikorsky Sky Crane rigged with water dropping tank.

Closer up under a tank-equipped chopper.

Off to the fire they go.

The winds are blowing so strongly that it's difficult to stand; harder still to hold the camera steady. Even on a tripod or braced against a log fencepost, with image stabilization at 1600 ISO, it's hard not to get some image blur. The effect of these gusts on the fire is at once amazing and frightening.

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