Monday, November 11, 2019

Great Los Angeles Earthquake of 1974

Today while visiting my mother I found that she was already watching this disaster classic and not only that, but the infamous "earthquake scene" was mere minutes away so I waited for it and watched it and then got hooked and finished the movie and in turn neglected to get everything done at mom's place that I had driven nearly 30 miles round trip to do. I still find this more accurate than any other movie interpretation of this city being destroyed by earthquake. Sorry "San Andreas", et al. "Earthquake" IMDB "Earthquake" Wiki

Graphic of the Day - Oz Burneth

My friend Dave Touissant grabbed this graphic from MODIS imagery and tweeted it and here it is now on my blog. The extent and magnitude of the fires in Australia just keeps expanding by the day as this is no longer merely limited to New South Wales and Queensland. Imagery courtesy of MODIS.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Word From This Blogger

Dear Reader,

Thank you for following this blog over the years or thanks for visiting for the first time. This is not a goodbye but rather HELLO AGAIN! I'm a creature of habit. I used to do this out of habit, then I stopped doing it out of habit. Tonight, I'm resuming the healthy old habit of posting here nearly daily. I also have over a 1-1/2 year's worth of back posts to drop here which will be coming in on a regular basis. The best way to see them is scroll back through my posts in sequence. I'll update this blog post and keep it at the top of this blog with notices of what back-posts have been dropped here and what dates they can be found at and links to them via their hyperlinked titles. Please keep coming back and I guarantee you won't be disappointed!

See   Picture of the Day - Post-Storm #3   (1/25/2019)

Last updated 6/30/2019

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Highway 41 Fire Student Documentary

On August 14, 2019, I had lunch in San Luis Obispo with my 7th grade history teacher Mike Burrell. He was my favorite teacher at Atascadero Junior High School (now Atascadero Middle School) when I was there 1983-1985. En route there from my home in Paso Robles it felt odd to me driving southbound on Highway 101 through the former Highway 41 Fire burn area. It was 25 years to the day after it started and that area would burn the next day. My drive included the area adjacent to Santa Margarita Ranch where the fire jumped the highway as a massive 100 foot wide fire tornado. It also included the entrance to Tassajara Canyon which experienced area ignition conditions when the fire roared through. And lastly, it included Cuesta Grade which was charred entirely, top to bottom, north and south sides of Cuesta Summit.

During lunch I brought this up with Mike and he informed me that in 1995, the year following the Highway 41 Fire, at which point he was then working at Oak Hills High School in Atascadero, he had his students put together a student documentary about the fire. After creating it they burned it on to blank VHS cassettes and sold them for $10 each for a fundraising drive.  After lunch I visited his home in SLO for the first time as we were reconnecting after all these years. Heretofore we merely briefly chatted on Facebook from time to time. Mike gave me the grand tour of his library/museum/arboretum/home which was a lot of fun. Before I left he handed me the only extant version of the documentary on disk. I asked him if I could burn some copies and donate them as well as upload the documentary to Youtube to which Mike generously accented.

Back in Paso Robles I took this disk to The Blueprinter and they directed me to Gallagher Video Services in town. I made an appointment and met with Ron Gallagher and told him my expectations. I wanted several copies of this documentary burned and I wanted nice graphic design for them that was apropos in labeling the product and I wanted an mp4 copy of it burned onto a flash drive so I could upload it to Youtube. I did this last week and today it was ready and here you go. At top is the documentary on Youtube. In the middle is the old disk and directly above is a copy of the new disk version produced by Ron Gallagher. Nicely done I think.

Mike also handed me a photocopy of an old SLO Tribune article from 1995 which recounts the story of this documentary. Read it above and if need be zoom in closer so the print is legible.

Monday, August 26, 2019

2009 Station Fire 10th Anniversary

It's hard to believe that the infamous 2009 Station Fire which ravage the San Gabriel Mountains in Los Angeles County above the San Gabriel and San Fernando Valleys began 10 years ago today. Where has the time gone? This conflagration remains the largest fire in the history of Los Angeles County. Above is a preview to the Alan Simmons video production for this fire which I have yet to add to my collection. Perhaps someday that will happen. This is a great sampling in the meantime. Enjoy!

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Highway 41 Fire Student Video

Photo by Kim Patrick Noyes (all rights reserved)

Today I had lunch in San Luis Obispo with my junior high school history mentor Mike Burrell. He was one of those special teachers who left an indelible impression upon me and encouraged my early interest in history. Life took my down a series of unexpected detours so the fruit of his labors with me did not begin blossoming until my 40s when I picked up an AA degree in History at Cuesta College and a BA in History at CAL POLY SLO. Given that today was the 25th anniversary of the Big Blow-Up of the Highway 41 on Day Two of its existence, and I had to drive right through the burn scare of the fire going to San Luis Obispo and back again, it seemed like a perfect coda to this day that Mr. Burrell revealed to me that in 1995 his classes at Oak Hills High School in Atascadero for the first anniversary of the event had created a video documentary about the fire centered around various local video footage taken by local residents and firefighters of the historic conflagration. He also gave me a photocopy of an article in the local SLO Tribune about the video. He has loaned me his copy of the documentary on disc which I am going to copy and upload to Youtube and share on this blog very soon I hope.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

25th Anniversary of Highway 41 Fire

Twenty-five years ago today the Highway 41 Fire began along the eastbound lane of Highway 41 between Atascadero and Morro Bay near Cerro Alto Campground. The fire, started by an arsonist, exploded across several thousand acres on Day One forcing evacuations, closure of Cerro Alto Campground and closure of Highway 41 between Morro Bay and Atascadero and would remain shut for days to come. The fire barely laid down overnight and reactivated the following morning at dawn making a major run to the west and southwest towards Morro Bay and Highway 1.

At about 6 a.m. on the morning of Day Two (8/15/94) it's early-morning activity caused an automatic power shutdown of the 500kv powerlines running through the area of Cerro Alto Campground taking energy from the Morro Bay Powerplant to points inland.

Day Two saw the fire go nuclear. Well-established in heavy 50 year-old chaparral with up to 40 tons of fuel per acre, most of it desiccated from years of drought (1984-1990) with lots of fallen limbs from two snow storms in 1988 and 1991, an epic freeze in 1990 and then in this year one of the driest winters (Winter of 1993-1994) ever recorded and now on this day triple digit temperatures (hundred-teens inland) with single digit relative humidities. The firestorm that ensued burned up 2 acres per second or over 7,000 acres per hour

The fire savagely tore into the west side of Atascadero, but for the grace of God, causing light damage. It then headed southeast nipping the southwest corner of Atascadero and enveloping the town of Santa Margarita but burning around it, NOT through it.

It jumped Highway 101 and burned both sides of the freeway from just south of Santa Barbara Road in Atascadero all the way down to the bottom of the south side of the Cuesta Grade on the outskirts of San Luis Obispo. The fire burned over Tassajera Ridge and lost steam heading down into Upper Lopez Canyon by which time a day days later a strong marine layer moved inland and dropped coastal drizzle on the fire dousing it.

The fire devastated Tassajara Canyon off of the bottom of the north side of the Cuesta Grade. In all 48,352 acres were charred and 42 homes, 61 other structures and 91 vehicles were destroyed. The arsonist was interviewed but there was never enough evidence to indict.

I have always wondered why a civil case was not pursued against this individual as was successfully done against the arsonist who started the Painted Cave Fire four years earlier.


Saturday, July 20, 2019

Picture of the Day - Quartzy Whale Vert

Today I went fossil-collecting at Field #2 in Templeton and found this petrified whale vertebra that is highly silicated. Photo by Kim Patrick Noyes (all rights reserved).

Friday, July 19, 2019

Picture of the Day - Dan's Ghost Dance

Tonight I attended an outdoor birthday party for my friend Donnie. It had a distinct Big Sur Jade Festival vibe to it and like the Jade Festival it featured my other friend Dan The Man doing his hilarious but sincere cultural appropriation of Native American culture dancing around a nocturnal fire in a quasi-ecsatic state partly helped along by the White Man's firewater. Photo by Kim Patrick Noyes (all rights reserved).

Picture of the Day - Noyes Rd

Today I visited the South County Regional Center in Arroyo Grande late this morning to meet with the organizers of the upcoming inaugural"Gems by the Sea" Gem & Jewelry Show at that venue September 7-8, 2019. This was my first time looking at the venue and I advised the organizers of things they need to do and offered my help. We are behind the curve on this but it will be what it will be. On the way home I wended my way through the backways of A.G. and existed Oak Park/Noyes Road. For the side streets I used Google Maps on my iPhone-8 and left it on even after getting on Oak Park just to see what was around me on the map. At one point I noticed I was between Noyes Rd identifiers and had to screencapture it. Photo by Kim Patrick Noyes (all rights reserved).

Friday, July 5, 2019

Graphic of the Day - Just Aftershocks

This is not something you see every day in California.... and these are just aftershocks... this graphic doesn't even show the main shocks. Image courtesy of UC Berkeley Seismo Lab (all rights reserved).

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Meme of the Week - Marianne Williamson

This meme wins the Internet this week. If you did not watch the second night of the first Democratic Party primary debate two nights ago then this will make no sense so just move along. If you did watch it or have seen a highlight reel of candidate Marianne Williamson's performance in that debate AND you are familiar with Twin Peaks then this meme will make perfect sense and hit you in the funny bone unless you are humorless.

Retro San Gabriel Valley

This image was tweeted HERE by Militant Angeleno three days ago. When I saw it my jaw just about dropped because it shows my hometown of Pasadena, CA, from back in the day before I was even born (1970). This is indicated by the newness of the freeways shown (Interstate 210 & State Route 134) and the lack of more buildings in many areas suggests this is circa second half of the 1960s. The section of I-210 on the right side of the image lacks freeway overpasses suggesting it is still under construction. The mountains in the background are the iconic San Gabriel Mountains girded with a mantle of wintertime snow; a scene much more common in the first 2/3s of the 20th century and earlier than nowadays. Image courtesy of (all rights reserved).

Friday, June 28, 2019

CA Disaster Anniversary Cluster

Today is the middle day in a three-day cluster of notable anniversaries of disasters or significant natural history events in California history. Here are the events in descending order:

JUNE 27th

1966 M6.0 Parkfield Quake

1990 Painted Cave Fire

1990 College Hills Fire

JUNE 28th

1991 Sierra Madre Quake

1992 Landers Earthquake

1992 Big Bear Earthquake

June 29th

1925 Santa Barbara Earthquake

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Raikoke Awakens

Raikoke Volcano erupted violently several days ago for the first time since 1924. It's located on an uninhabited island in the Russian Kuril Islands along the margins of the northwest Pacific Ocean. This namesake name means "hellmouth" in the native Ainu language. This image was shot from the International Space Station. Photo courtesy of NASA (all rights reserved).

Painted Cave Fire 29th Anniversary

Earlier this evening marked the 29th anniversary of the Painted Cave Fire in Santa Barbara County. Unusually powerful Sundowner winds (hurricane force winds + 109° F by 7 p.m.) combined with the evil in men's hearts to create a firestorm which killed one woman and destroyed 427 buildings and scorched 4,900 acres. Above is a 25th anniversary segment on the local TV news station that aired in 2015.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

The Dude Fire 29th Anniversary

I still remember the Dude Fire and the epic heat wave in Arizona during the same period..... happened around the same time as the Painted Cave Fire in Santa Barbara County and the College Hills Fire in Glendale Hills started by notorious serial arsonist John Orr, a Glendale FD arson investigator. Photo by Arizona State Forestry (all rights reserved).

R.I.P. Beth

For those of you who never watched Dog the Bounty Hunter and its subsequent iterations this report of woe will mean nothing to you. However, for those of us who did follow this family via their reality television shows over the years, this is very sad news indeed!

Monday, June 24, 2019

Graphic of the Day - Arizona MegaFire Comparison

Image courtesy of NWS Phoenix
Although there are some areal proportionality problems with this visual comparison it is nonetheless useful in comparing in very general terms the scale difference between each of these fires, all of which are the six largest in Arizona history and all have burned within the past 17 years.

A Bakersfield Kind of Fire

In one of the oddest fires I've seen this year, a small roadside grassfire along Highway 99 in Bakersfield, CA, spread from very meager dry grass into 85 cars on a Carmaxx car sales lot during business hours today. File this under "Only In Bakersfield".

Both videos here courtesy of Power Jamz Productions (all rights reserved).

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Graphic of the Day - Cape Mendo Quake Beach Ball

Since this graphic was created, tonight's in Humboldt County, CA quake has been revised down to M5.6. For more specifics on this event go HERE. The beach balls to which I refer refers to this HERE.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

We Won!

As previously discussed HERE and HERE in previous days this week, there has been a bit of a dust-up in SoCal as the Orange County Fire Authority received a backlash to full encryption going into affect for all OCFA radio communications starting earlier this week. California Disasters was right in the middle of this the day the story broke. Guess what happened today as a consequence? I'm not accustomed to such victories in the public arena. To be fair, it was multiple communities/stakeholders raising a ruckus and I am but one member of one of those communities. However, I did go on KFI-AM Los Angeles about it, something which was initially very uncomfortable and took me out of my comfort zone. 

Graphic of the Day - Drought Monitor 6/19

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

My KFI Morning

So this morning I awoke still being sick albeit a bit better but still not feeling well. I ambled into my little living room and checked the Internet to see what was going on. To my surprise, my protestations yesterday HERE along with my scannerhead cohorts regarding Orange County beginning encryption this week of all its public safety radio communications apparently grabbed the interest of the newsmedia who follow us and also themselves monitor the scanner. There concern, as is our's, is that encrypting public safety radio communications threatens public safety in an ironic twist. By public safety radio traffic being encrypted, not only the public can't listen in on it themselves, but neither can the newsmedia nor scannerheads like us who parse it out and translate it into meaningful information for the public and combine it with other sources of information like other citizen's tweets and webcam images and so forth to create accurate and timely information which is vitally useful to folks living in areas under threat during disasters in California. This was incontrovertibly proved last November in the Camp Fire in Butte County as Paradise and environs was destroyed and 85 people were killed. Many local citizens thanked the scannerhead community for their service helping them to leave when they did by our public postings on Twitter. Anywho, I digress, at about this time I also got a phone call from La Habra from a number I did not recognize and ignored it. Then it texted me and said it was Corbin Carson with KFI-AM Los Angeles wanting to talk to me about this controversy. I initially balked as I did not feel well and felt others in my cohort would be better spokespersons. However, unable to contact them I jumped in and stood in the gap. Below is what resulted.
*Follow-up Footnote: We Won!

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Public Safety Encryption Is Bad For Public Safety

This week the Orange County Fire Authority and Orange County Sheriff's Department began full or near-full encryption of their radio communications for fire and law. I'm not talking about the sort of stuff that has been encrypted for years because it was S.W.A.T. activity or surveillance operations and such. I'm talking about classic routine radio communications that so many of us have monitored our entire lives. I grew up in a household which in the 1970s listened to such radio traffic all the time. This is a growing trend in American life as governments at all levels become more militarized and secretive in the post-9/11 world covered in the fig-leaf terrorist concerns and mass shootings. Also, Motorola needs more useless shit (in this context) to sell taxpayers that not only do they not need, but it is not in their self-interest to purchase it through their local governments. There are many different reasons to oppose this trend of which each are valid. Below, my online HAM and fellow scannerhead Ben a.k.a. AI6YRHAM tweeted the below remark earlier today and much more eloquently than myself or anybody else I read making the public safety argument against. This is the argument which I feel most strongly about, even more so than the troubling secretive authoritarian militarization aspect of this trend let alone the inconvenience to the scanner-listening hobby which is the least important argument but an argument nonetheless.

Monday, June 17, 2019

Fern Canyon Fuelbreak

Last week Cal Fire, in cooperation with Paso Robles Fire Department and local residents living in canyon and hilltop homes on the West Side of Paso Robles, conducted a fuel treatment operation using mechanized equipment to create a new Fern Canyon Fuelbreak. The wildland fire worst-case scenario for this community would be for a wind-driven wildfire to enter the city limits with a head of steam by way of these canyons on the West Side. I have skin in the game because a fire roaring out of Fern Canyon could come to my house. Image courtesy Cal Fire (all rights reserved).

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Ultimate Dank Meme Mashup

How in the hell did I miss this back in 2017? Oh that's right, teaching credential program and you-know-who and probable PTSD from both hellish experiences. Well, here it is better late than never.

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Picture of the Day - McMillan Fire Aerial View

In closing out my discussion of my unexpectedly exciting chase of the 1,764-acre McMillan Fire a few days ago, above is an aerial image of the entire fire area as viewed from Air Attack 340 out of Paso Robles Air Attack Base. At bottom left is the roadside rest area along Highway 46 from which I shot half of my video and still images. Photo by Cal Fire (all rights reserved).

Friday, June 14, 2019

More of My McMillan Fire Footage on Media

Upon awaking this morning and checking online, to my surprise my footage of the 1,764-acre McMillan Fire yesterday had spread across various media sources beyond just AccuWeather last night. This is my first experience with this and I'm getting a small kick out of it. I do not regret giving a few news video gathering organization permission to use my stuff for free. There was nothing special about this fire to be quite honest. If I ever capture something pretty awesome then I will demand money. Below are the versions of my video that appeared today on ABC News, Pattrn, and WeatherNation. Check HERE to see my footage on AccuWeather last night.

You Should Stay With Me

Last night was an odd night. I believe now that I was already getting sick because I woke up not feeling well and that feeling has deepened all day. I hope I'm okay because this is not following the usual trajectory of a cold or flu. I need to get in better health ASAP. God is really weighing this heavily on my heart. Anywho, while up unable to sleep last night, I found this amazing tech house gem by British DJ and producer Chris Lake with vocals by his wife Gita. It is titled "Stay With Me". It possesses an catchy beat and yet a haunting and longing quality and with very sexy and sexual lyrics. The backstory to this song is rather cool and deserves reading about HERE along with the lyrics which are mostly correct.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

My McMillan Fire Footage On AccuWeather

Tonight I was going to compile my best footage from yesterday's McMillan Fire near Shandon, CA, in eastern San Luis Obispo County. Before I could get a start on doing that I noticed that AccuWeather, which had asked permission to use my videos segments I posted on Twitter during the fire and received said permission, had put together a video montage set to background music on their Twitter channel. Given this is my first time being published like this, I have decided to post the Accuweather video montage instead of less-edited and more raw video. I think you'll enjoy this more polished version best or at least I hope so.
*UPDATE: to see three more versions of my footage as they appear on three other channels/networks HERE.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

McMillan Fire Photos

Today while working at my house in Paso Robles, I espied a loom-up of smoke off to the east. I immediately stopped what I was doing and turned on my scanner and checked Twitter and heard and saw references to "McMillan". This told me that the fire was in the area of Hwy 46 and McMillan Canyon Road in the Shandon area. I then without much pre-planning (I neglected to grab water which I later regretted) and headed out the door and out Highway 46 east towards the fire. Below are some of the images I captured shown in order of the incident known as the McMillan Fire. Unfortunately, I didn't realize the camera on my iPhone8 was not set to Auto so some of these images aren't as clear as they should be... sorry! Tomorrow I will see about sharing some of the video shorts I captured. *Update: final acreage was mapped at 1,764 acres.

All photos by Kim Patrick Noyes (all rights reserved).