Friday, May 23, 2008

Summit Fire Update 5/23/08

The caveats below all still apply, and there's nothing new in the 5/22 section, so those of you that got this update yesterday need not read beyond today's info.

First off, today was almost totally calm on the winds here at my home. That's good news, but I also note that I never heard any air tankers or helicopters working today. That may be because they were farther away this time, or it may be that they were grounded some or all of the day thanks to the smoke. I honestly don't know. Remember that I have no visibility on the fire from my home, and today I couldn't even see the smoke plume.

And speaking of smoke, we went from not even smelling it yesterday to being in the thick of it this morning. It spread out overnight and blanketed the area, only gradually going away as the day heated up. I walked the dogs at the gym this morning instead of on our local roads just to avoid some of the thick smoke.

In any event, with the weather as cool and calm as it was today, things should have gone well for those working the front lines of the fire. I sure hope so.

Thanks to some of you I've encountered several new sources of information since I sent out the last email. They include:

  • The Mountain Network News, our local news magazine. They keep a story on their main page containing a summary of the latest info.
  • A navy weather satellite data site found by my wife. That picture clearly shows the smoke plume yesterday. And if you look at other pictures taken around that time you can see the smoke move a bit, but generally head due south. In fact you can see the plume go all the way down to the LA vicinity, though it's out at sea. I think they rotate this data out over time, so after a few weeks you probably won't be able to get that picture anymore.
  • A reasonably good map showing the location of the fire, some of the evacuated areas, origin, etc.
  • Another map containing actual CALFIRE data about actual fire size and location on Thursday night. Our home is about 6 miles or so to the west of the north west edge of the fire, which is pretty close to the point where it originated. I'd have added a marker to it if I could figure out how to do that.

The other bit of news I think is confirmed today is that the home of someone I know - and that many in the MAG know as well - was destroyed in the fire. Hugo Zazzara lost the home he built by himself from scratch. Hugo is a furniture maker who spent a few MAG shows next door to my booth, selling his custom work. I'm sure his home was quite spectacular, and I'm equally certain that he will feel the pain of it's loss for a long, long time. For those who've not already seen it, you can read his story here.

I feel for Hugo. Had this fire started just a few miles farther west I'd be in his shoes, along with quite a few others. There are a lot more houses in our immediate vicinity, and the winds were awful. We're lucky no one died. The fire isn't out yet, though, so we all need to keep alert and be prepared for any changes. And the next fire.

Thanks again to everyone who has shared information, offered help and support, or just worried about us. We're lucky to have so many good friends.

Please keep safe.