Discussion Board

Topic: Alive and unburned in San Diego

From: Mike Glosson
Location: Normal Heights, San Diego, CA
Date: 10/23/2007

Greg:

Greetings from your olde home town. We are still safe in my Neighborhood of San Diego, quite a way from both fires and their fronts.
When I read Quantico recently the SoCal fires sequence made me a little uneasy, having been thru the Fires of 2003.
The Harris and Witch Creek Fires make the Cedar fire look like a BBQ at Cholina Park. And I thought that one felt like the End of the World.
I had just been out in the back country days before, and saw and experienced the Santa Ana winds and refrained from taking off too deep into the brush on foot.
Down Town Potrero may be completely gone, according to our friends who live(d) there and have survived two prior major fires. That's the Harris Fire.
The Witch Creek Fire, in it's first hours, took out most of the land around the SR-78 between Ramona and Santa Ysabel. The Ranches and Farms just east of SY are probably gone. The Egg Ranch right on the freeway is gone. Shangrala Ranch, just outside of Romona, is probably gone.
The Cleveland National Forest in the mountain part of the County is CLOSED DOWN, with only one fire burning there.
We've opened up our house to members of pub rescue and FNO is they need a place to hold up.
My younger brother, who works for the law enforcement arm of the California Insurance Commission got drafted last night to do anti-looting patrol in the evac zones. I don't expect to see him until next week, from the stores he told me about being stationed at lake Cuyamaca during the 2003 fires.
There was a bit of a panic around 3 AM as the fires came up and over Mt. Miguel...until I the media clarified where it was I thought it was coming over Cowles Mountain from Santee, if that had been the case we would have bugged out then and there.
Don't know if you still have family down here after all this time. Let me know if you need any follow ups on anyone or any neighborhoods.
Mike Glosson

Re: Alive and unburned in San Diego

From: Greg Bear
Date: 10/24/2007

Glad to hear you're well, Mike--we're keeping track of a lot of friends and relatives around my old stomping grounds. I'd be foolish to claim any prescience for describing fires in Malibu (in DEAD LINES) and across five counties in QUANTICO; this sort of thing has been common in Southern California for a long time now. The apocalyptic fire seasons--with orange or dark brown skies and spectacular sunsets and thousands of acres of grey or even white char--still haunt my memories. Stay well!

Re: Alive and unburned in San Diego

From: Mike Glosson
Location: "Smokey" San Diego, California
Date: 10/24/2007

Greg:

Yes, the fires are prepetual. I missed the Pine Valley Fire in, what was it, 1970, riding thru similar fires up in Central California that year. The fires in the mid 1990s down here just darkened the skies.

I was in Witch Creek, Mesa Grande, Palomar Mountain, Potrero, Jamul in the last weeks...and last Thursday it definitely looked like everything was ready to go up at any minute.

The News is spotty for Palomar and Julian.

Air Conditions in the city...wow, it's like a smoggy day in LA several decades ago. I have the mother of all sinus headaches and we are tens of miles from any front lines.

Ash is falling on the city.

Speaking of Cities: I got a chance to scan some of the posts on the blog here during my last visit, and saw some Traffic regading a "City at the End of Time". ???? Axis City from The Way novels (I'm finally getting around to reading Legacy!)? Your spin on the Diaspar theme? Your spin on the Dancers at the End of Time (I remember that you recommend those books to me back in '78).

When not avoiding wild fire The Stapledonian Mythos of Deep Time is one of my main "literary" interests, getting that itch scratched during the 1990s with Benford's novels set at Galactic Centre.

Mike Glosson, hunker'd down in Normal Heights.

Re: Alive and unburned in San Diego

From: Greg Bear
Date: 10/24/2007

Falling ash--I distinctly remember that from the 1970 fire, crossing 8 on my way to San Diego State College.

CITY is less like Moorcock, more a touch of Stapledon and Hodgson. No direct connection with EON--except that those events might be fit into one small corner of CITY!

Re: Alive and unburned in San Diego

From: Mike Glosson
Location: San Diego
Date: 10/24/2007

Ashfall, so far, is not nearly as bad as the 2003 fires. The smoke was so thick that the sun was direct eye observable, and there were some LARGE sunspots during that week. Only the second time in my life I have seen sunspots directly.

I see that CITY has an August 2008 Release date. Something to look forward to and speculate about until next summer.

Mike

Re: Alive and unburned in San Diego

From: patrick
Location:
Date: 10/24/2007

Having been stationed in that area, I know a little of the landscape an all. I didn't think there was much to go up round Ramona. As for Palomar, that would be bad. Nice pine area I spent a night in near the top.

I know that sunspot situation, alternatively, from the oil fires in Kuwait. As well, when the humid season hit, the filth seemed to disappear from the air, then you'd find it under your nails after scratching an itch. And I was a bit south. I heard that in the north you needed vehicle lights on during the day.

Re: Alive and unburned in San Diego

From: Greg Bear
Date: 10/25/2007

Brush and forest country is all over in that area. This kind of burn depletes fuel for a couple of years--but if there's a big wet this winter and next, it will soon be back in enough strength to be a problem. Looking over the burn spots on TV, flooding and erosion could also be expected. Right now, the major health problem as the fires subside will be air pollution.

Re: Alive and unburned in San Diego

From: Mike Glosson
Location: "Smokey" San Diego, California
Date: 10/25/2007

I'm expecting the something like the Winter of 2004 all over again, but perhaps muted if we are in an El Ninia event instead of El Ninio (pardom my transliterations). We had some major mud slides the last time. Palomar, right now, appears to be the worst mud slide/flood zone, if we get any rain this winter.
Right after the 2003 fires we had a rain storm come thru and clean out the air. No rain in the forcast for weeks, if at all. So the smokey air will be with us.
There is a possibility of Fog Friday...but Smoke + Fog = the original version of Smog. That could be very nasty.
One thing no one expected the last time, and we had it with us for nearly two years afterwards: Every time the Santa Ana winds kicked up after the fires we first would have ash falls, then once all the ash was blown away, a stead rain of mica particles from the mountain tops.
We haven't had much rain since the 2003 fires, and those burn areas are still low on fuel, some of that fuel was nearly 100 years old!
There's been talk since 2003, with a few test studies, of letting goats out in the thicker brush.
Palomar has been my biggest worry since the summer of 2003, right before the last round of fires: over half the forest was dead due to the draught and bark bettle infestations. They've been steadily logging the forest since then; but when I was up there last Thursday I was still counting two dead trees for every seven. Helicopter footage this morning showed that the fire on Palomar had gone up over the ride on the south face,and it looked like it was burning into parts of the plateau/valley on top. No word on the fate of the Hale Observatory...

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