Since this fire tripled in size a month ago after a dry lightning storm, I have spent a lot of time studying it, along with the terrain it inhabits, smoke conditions, and wind speed and direction. We are exposed to the West zone of the fire – 70,000 acres and five percent contained. It is holding at 11 miles/18 km away, to our southeast.
The focus by Calfire and the forest crews is saving lives and structures. Unfortunately even with the light winds the smoke is so bad in our area that retardant and water drops have been severely hampered, so it is all ground crews now. Fortunately the heavy smoke does dampen the fire, robbing it of oxygen.
It is an odd kind of familiarity that grows, an awe really, having something so huge, mighty, and completely transformative as a massive natural fire so close by. Our smoke levels change constantly during the day and night, sometimes ash falling, visibility a few hundred yards, and a strong stinging smoke, and then a few hours later it can reach relatively clear air, visibility out about a mile, with a much reduced smell of smoke.
Doing anything prolonged outdoors is out of the question. I do a little maintenance but then back indoors. It is a strange way to spend a hot, sunny summer, with clear blue skies somewhere far above the smoke! I generally feel safe in challenging conditions like this, though getting used to a regular fire season as a way of life has been a quick sometimes slippery learning curve.
Up here nature is much closer than before our immense fire in 2018. I sense it in the animals – they are more independent, prouder somehow too. We humans are by far the minority around here now. In fact I just saw a four foot diamondback rattler stretched out next to the pool, before the sun went down. Probably lives under the nearby boulder where we have a huge pampas grass plant. I used to have a deal with the Rattlesnake King (met in the strata of the devas; nature spirits) where He wouldn’t let snakes inside the fence, but as mentioned, nature is bolder now. 🙂
It is fine, I am not afraid of the snakes and they generally keep to themselves. However, “always look down while walking outside” is a maxim to remember here, similar to “never turn your back on the ocean”. Simply, done.
What tomorrow will bring is unknown. With such a large fire, and so many others, rain is the only hope of completely extinguishing these giants, and that could be weeks away.
In any case I am getting to know this one, clear-eyed, and humbly, formally ask for calm, though mostly just take my desires inside and ensure that I have no flames within – “Thy Will Be Done” 🙂
~ Jai Guru Dev ~