Sunday, November 16, 2008

Orange County is burning

... along with much of the rest of Southern California. While Korea, Japan, and most of the United States are already experiencing winter freeze, Southern California is still in the midst of a hot fire season. 

The parents of one family friend had their recently renovated home burn down in Yorba Linda, where the above picture was taken. A cousin has had to evacuate from their part of northern Orange County, not far away from that. The portion of the Riverside Freeway connecting OC with Riverside County is closed as flames lick the highway itself. 

It's an odd thing, the weather we have in SoCal. September and even October see some of the hottest days of the year (May, June, and even early July can be overcast and chilly). Compound that with the fact that by September and October, the grass and brush on the hillsides and mountains of Southern California have gone their longest without substantial amounts of water (summers are hot and sunny; the rainy season is in the winter). Conditions are significantly drier than in July or even August. And when the Santa Ana winds, those hot, dry gusts from the desert, start to blow, it's like a tinderbox. 

That adds up to a fire season that often hits in the fall. Last year's multitude of massive fires across Southern California hit in the last part of October and ended nineteen days later in the first part of November. So far these fires have not yet reached that level, but things are still not fully under control, so who can say what will happen? I just pray everyone gets out okay. 

This is really no surprise. This November has seen temperatures well past 90°F. That seems weird even to me... temperatures in the nineties—in mid-November! I am so trying to resist the urge to say anything about global warming or global climate change. So trying. 

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