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Smoke over Petro

Smoke over Petro 1

These pics have been sitting in my iPhoto bin (’06 sadly—where’s my iLife ’08 upgrade!?) since I downloaded them almost a month ago. It’s a little late to be posting them now, but not as late as I originally thought.

About three weekends ago, Miss T and I were driving back north from SoCal. Winding our way down the Grapevine, we noticed that the sky ahead of us was filled with smoke. The entire sky. It was amazing.

Smoke over Petro 2

We entered the smoke area at the foot of the Grapevine, made a pit stop at Petro (where I took these pictures), and continued north on I-5. We drove under the smoke cover for a good ten miles. The entire landscape was tinted red—as if we were traveling through Mars, California.

What I didn’t know at the time was that the Zaca Fire, which was generating the 10-mile wide smoke cloud from about 40 miles away, had been burning for more than six weeks. What I also didn’t know at the time was that the fire would be burning for another two+ weeks before it was declared 100% contained.

Smoke over Petro 3

All in all, the Santa Barbara County Zaca Fire started on July 4 and was declared 100% contained on September 4. 240,207 acres burned and required 988 fire personnel in 21 fire crews at a cost of $118 million. Just par for the course for the summer fire season.

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