Friday, September 25, 2015

Not So Hidden Valley Firestorm

For those of you wondering what happened following the end of the previous Valley Firestorm footage you can watch over two minutes of additional footage of how events transpired at that location (the field with the cows in it with fire rapidly approaching). That field is adjacent to an intersection where folks exiting Hidden Valley Lake were turning onto Highway 29. The traffic jam there with approaching firestorm menace can be seen at the end of this footage. Below is a link to the aforementioned footage to which this relates.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Valley Firestorm Uber Footage Trifecta Completed

Here is the third installment of awesome extended footage of the recent 76,067 acre Valley Fire in Lake County, CA, as captured by Flying Monkey Photography and associates, that I'm now addicted to viewing. It mixes some incredible firestorm-as-weather-event footage along with being archival footage of an historic event as well as captures well the sense of how a major disaster feels where the human systems in place fall far short of being able to adequately deal with a particular crisis, especially in the early hours of the extended attack on the first day.

The men and women first responders in this disaster did their best but the natural elements conspired to confound their best efforts and great ability and technology. This fire underscores the fact we are losing the fight against these increasingly vicious wildfires.

Note: up to four deaths in this fire now with the third highest level of destruction in California history with 1,910 structures destroyed and over 1,200 of those being homes. Note the ominously beautiful smoke cloud formations and structures and how the light plays off of and through them. Also note that starting at the 5:08 mark one is observing a large and powerful fire whirl/tornado with broad-scale circulation. If you are curious as to what happened after this footage ends in the location it was shot then visit Not So Hidden Valley Firestorm.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Valley Firestorm Apocalypto

Here is another jaw-dropping video sequence of the recent 76,000 acre Valley Fire in Lake County, CA, as captured by Flying Monkey Photography which seems to be a new concern from what I can determine. Kudos to them for the historic fire footage they captured (fire is credited with burning nearly 2,000 homes and killing 2 and possibly 4 people). This will be an event that is studied by fire scientists, first responders, and emergency managers for years to come... as well as by people from various scientific disciplines. Enjoy to the degree one may!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Ben Carson Is A Bigot

As a person who is not a Muslim and believes it is a false religion, I am nonetheless surprised and disappointed to learn that Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson has said he would not support a President who is a Muslim. I also believe Mormonism is a false religion but I voted for Mitt Romney three years ago as a protest vote to the filth currently residing in the White House. If somebody is constitutionally elected President of the United States in a free and open election such as they are in a Corporate Oligarchy then that person has been vetted by the system our Founding Fathers put in place. If the President is a Muslim matters not one iota any more than if they are a confirmed Atheist which I also believe is a false faith. The Democrats are weak, vulnerable, and inept as they were in 2012 but the Republican's chronic ineptitude and fecklessness guarantees Hillary will be the next President.... a deeply flawed candidate ripe for the taking but for whom the clown car of Republican candidates offers no credible challenge.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Valley Firestorm As Weather Event

Tonight I discovered a new favorite video featuring the Valley Fire firestorm in Lake County which occurred last Saturday. Notice how much this conflagration functioned and appeared like a weather event more than merely a big wildfire. This fire like the footage of this fire serves to demonstrate once again something that the folks in the fire biz as well as emergency managers and some select others have come to realize: despite the most technologically advanced firefighting capability in human history, humanity, especially in the United States is increasingly losing to these increasingly common conflagrations. These increasingly common extreme events ultimately come to an end when the weather changes to a regime that is less conducive to fire spread, not due to the valiant efforts of our firefighters who are powerless in the face of such raw power. Enjoy this amazing footage if that is even possible.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Like A Scene From A Zombie Apocalypse

Last night was the fourth and final 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. 12-hour night watch shift I experienced at San Gabriel Elementary School in Atascadero, CA. Last Friday, which was September 11th, as in 9/11, or the night before, some sociopath with access to the school deposited a container on the campus playground containing a toxic substance as well as one or more threatening letters. Our company was tasked with keeping unauthorized persons off the school property, day and night. Aside from having my circadian rhythm disrupted, with more guard work this weekend and Cal Poly starting next Monday, I was grateful for the chance to serve my community in this small way and earn a few shekels in the process. The single most enduring memory seared into my memory from this experience was how odd it felt looking into each room of the campus and observing frozen in time, the exact moment the campus-wide alarm was sounded and order to leave immediately. Each room featured its own story. In one classroom, most memorably, I observed what appeared to be a test and answer sheet resting on each student desk but none of them appeared to be marked upon yet. The class was about to take the test or quiz when the alarm sounded and they fled and that was it. In the multi-purpose room which serves as both an auditorium, gym, and cafeteria, students' backpacks are strewn all over the place and lunches rest at each sitting location on a large table,  uneaten or at least unfinished (featured in the image above). In the faculty lounge, the refrigerator has several women's purses crammed in it. Given the heat wave that was occurring at the time it appears the women placed their cosmetics-laden purses in the box to keep their make-up from melting. At random locations throughout the campus, student's backpacks rest on tables or hang from chain-link fences adjacent to play areas, abandoned when the alarm was sounded last Friday.
Image by Kim Patrick Noyes (all rights reserved).

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Best Valley Firestorm Stills

The following are my fourteen favorite images of the Valley Firestorm which I have seen to this point. If I see any other faves I'll post them belatedly as an update and note the time of the update at the bottom of this narrative above the top image. Images are shown in no particular order than a general sense of the chronological sequence in which they were captured at different times and places by different witnesses. As of this posting, the fire has burned over 50,000 acres and over a 1,000 structures and leveled parts of several communities including Cobb, CA, and Middletown, CA, and the gated community of Hidden Valley Lake.
Here is the fire as it began near Cobb, CA. It appears to be only several acres in size. Photo by The Patch Lawn (all rights reserved).
The fire didn't take long to form a pyrocumulus cloud known in the fire biz as "capping out". Photo by Andrew Hendry (all rights reserved).
New chopper live camera still courtesy of ABC News (all rights reserved).
Evacuees fleeing down Highway 29. Photo by Sergios Quintana (all rights reserved).
The fire baring down on Middletown, CA as evacuees flee for their lives. Photo by Nicole Young (all rights reserved).
Another jaw-dropping image of the fire baring down on Middletown, CA. Photo by Michael Milirud (all rights reserved).
Kent Porter has had an amazing run of dramatic images this fire season of the various firestorms that have erupted in his part of the state this summer ranging from the Rocky Fire to the Jerusalem Fire to this Valley Fire. Photo by Kent Porter (all rights reserved).
Kelli Chase shot this image as she evacuated her home. Photo by Kelli Chase (all rights reserved).
Kelli Chase shot this image as she drove through Middletown en route to safety. Photo by Kelli Chase (all rights reserved).
Katie Utehs captured this image along Highway 29 at the Twin Pine Casino at Middletown Rancheria. Photo by Katie Uteh (all rights reserved).
Another shot from the same stretch of road captured the pell-mell nature of the evacuation and ominous appearance of the approaching firestorm. Photo by Katie Utehs (all rights reserved).
This was the view yesterday from north of Clear Lake showing the smoke drifting northwards past and over Mt. Konocti at right. This photography has also had a great year of fire photographs.  Photo by Jeffrey Jenkins (all rights reserved).
Here the fire churns through drought-stressed/beetle-infected forest. Photo by Michael Hardy (all rights reserved)
This is my favorite night shot of the fire I have seen thus far and it is by yet another wonderful local photographer who has had an amazing year of fire photography. Photo by Craig Philpott (all rights reserved).

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Valley Firestorm Super Footage

I had to work a shift shortly after today's Valley Firestorm erupted in Lake County burning from Cobb, CA, to Middletown, CA, and consuming large swaths of both and just about everything in between. I missed much of it as the story unfolded but did get to monitor it a little bit via Twitter, the Hotlist, and emails in that descending order of relevance. Following work, I unwound online while getting caught up on the disaster. The following video footage is the most dramatic of this fire which I have found thus far. It was captured from a residence in Hidden Valley Lake looking west-southwest. It was recorded by Grace Becker at her father's house right before evacuating. It is unknown how this neighborhood fared in the fire.
*Note: edited 9/14/15 10:44 a.m. with updated embed code from original source.

Friday, September 11, 2015

A Rough Fire Pyrocumulus From 30,000 Feet

This was the scene today, Day 43 of the Rough Fire, from a passenger jetliner looking out the window at the towering pyrocumulus or pyrocumulonimbus towering over the convection column from this mega-fire raging in the Sierra Nevada. Photo by Peter Gleick from 30,000 feet (all rights reserved).

Butte Fire From Jackson Overlook Next Day

For the second day in a row, somebody captured an interesting (to me anyway) image of the Butte Fire from the Jackson Overlook along Highway 49 just north of Jackson, CA. As I mentioned in the caption for yesterday's image, I've driven by this location more time than I can count and have stopped here on numerous occasions.
Photo by Ed Joyce (all rights reserved).

There Was A Disturbance In The Force Today

I don't know about any of you, but I surely felt it today... all day.

My Ominously Smoky Bear Trail Hike

Today I got back in the groove of hiking/walking after a two-week hiatus in which I spent eight days in San Diego and never hiked or strenuously walked even once. Then, upon my return didn't do a lick for most of the week following as I was emotionally and spiritually drained. However, today's walk/hike did not go as planned despite it being unambitious in its intent. The two great wildfires in California currently raging in the Sierra Nevada (the Butte Fire and the Rough Fire) darkened our skies locally today to an extreme degree, especially the first half of the day. This pall of smoke cast an ominous pall over the 14th anniversary of 9/11. Adding to the weirdness for me was the fact 14 years ago yesterday I was up in the Gold Country watching the Darby Fire rage in the Stanislaus River Canyon roughly between the two major fires raging in the Sierra Nevada today. I had intended to watch it again today 14 years ago until I became aware of the 9/11 attacks while in Wal-Mart in Sonora, CA, getting more Hi-8 video canisters. All in all, all the elements of today's adventure added up to an odd experience for me. What follows is what I encountered on the outing shown in the order it happened while accompanied by my brother by another mother.

We had intended to hike the Rinconada Trail but this is what we encountered when we pulled off of Pozo Road to head up the short road to the trailhead. This closure went into effect during the recent and nearby Cuesta Fire. The fire is controlled but the closure remains for this part of the Los Padres National Forest.
Weirdly surreal billowing and wispy smoke filled the skies of the North County this morning. This view is looking west from Blinn Ranch Trail near the Salinas River and adjacent to the rock outcroppings.
As we walked westbound on Blinn Ranch Trail we realized we were walking on fresh black bear paw prints.... really big ones, so fresh that the hair on the animal's heal abraided the back of the paw print and crease-lines in the paw were visible. Needless to say, given the ongoing extreme drought and the desperation of such animals stressed by it, we turned around after a little while. Photos by Kim Patrick Noyes (all rights reserved).

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Nightmarish Butte Fire Night Scene

This is the Butte Fire as viewed from Murphys, CA, looking northwards tonight. This fire is in its second day and in the most recent update has consumed 14,700 acres. It is closing in on the old burn scar of a fire that threatened Murphys back in August, 1992, to wit, the Old Gulch Fire which consumed well over 100 homes and 17,386 acres. Obviously, this fire is not adhering to the usual pattern of wildfires calming down at night but appears to on the move.
Photo by and courtesy of Jeremiah Johnston of Murphys, CA (all rights reserved).

Butte Fire From Jackson Overlook

This was the scene from the roadside rest/overlook area along Highway 49 just north of Jackson, CA. In the distance to the southeast is the Butte Fire raging in Amador and Calaveras Counties. I have often stopped here and even more often driven by it without stopping. Seeing it looking like this elicits a lot of feelings for me. I remember stopping here to watch the Canon Fire burning in Alpine County the day it started in the summer of 2002. This fire is much closer than that one was.
Photo by Ryan Yamamoto (all rights reserved).

Saturday, September 5, 2015

My Last Night Into Morning At Bannister House

My eight-day stay in San Diego at Bannister House visiting my friend Jannine and mixing in some sightseeing came to an end today when her mother/my friend Patsy and I carpooled home to the Central Coast. It was a wonderful trip in which I was able to spend some quality time (sounds so cliche) with Jannine. Also, I experienced some awesome things including a number of firsts such as going to a Padres game at Petco Park and visiting the Whaley House. Special thanks goes out to Patsy Dow and her family for hosting me. I hope I was able in some small way to be of assistance to the Dow Family.

Now about the Bannister House: you can read more about it via the hyperlink above. However, I will say this about the place: it is a magical place of healing. For a nominal fee, family members of those suffering serious illness at UCSD Medical Center may stay there as long as needed, in some cases with the ill family member if they are ill enough to need constant care but not ill enough to need to be in a hospital room. Mostly, it is just family members of the seriously ill. The building is cheerfully laid out to allow maximum light and openness without sacrificing privacy and personal space. The staff are minimal in number but are friendly and run a tight ship. The main thing is the magic that happens in the common area, to wit, the kitchen and dining room. Guests are banned from eating in their rooms. This forces guests to prepare meals together and eat together which invariably causes impromptu support meetings at every meal. Everybody in there has a loved one going through serious stuff. Often different parties staying there have family members suffering similar things and are able to crowd source information and provide emotional support. I was stuck by how awesome this environment is and would love to work there if I lived down that way. 

Note: below are some other posts relating to this visit to San Diego.

No Whaley House Wailing
Sitting Pat In Petco Park
Of Giant Sloth Turds and Ammonite Bites
Snakebitten by Mojave Green

Mission Valley last night as viewed from our balcony at Bannister House. 
A morning view from the same location this morning.
This is the social center of Bannister House; the kitchen and dining area. 
Looking into the kitchen from the dining room.
Looking from the kitchen into the dining room. 
These canyons spread out the sprawl in San Diego which I like but they create WUI problems for society. 
Canyon on the side opposite from the previous one. 
Goodbye, Bannister House! All photos by Kim Patrick Noyes (all rights reserved). 

Friday, September 4, 2015

No Whaley House Wailing

Tonight as part of my ongoing visit to San Diego to visit my friend Jannine in the hospital as she recovers from a serious surgery. I had the privilege of being taken to the infamous Whaley House in Old Town San Diego by my friend Jon who is a mutual friend. Despite the reputation of the place I experienced nothing and none of my images later showed anything creepy as allegedly has often been the case in times past.

Note: below are some other posts relating to this visit to San Diego.

My Last Night Into Morning At Bannister House
Sitting Pat In Petco Park
Of Giant Sloth Turds and Ammonite Bites
Snakebitten By Mojave Green

This Zoltar was down the street from the Whaley House but was in line with the mood of the evening so I include an image of it here. All images by Kim Patrick Noyes (all rights reserved).