A Photo a Week Challenge: By Firelight

Author: Marilyn Armstrong

Writer, photography, blogger. Previously, technical writer. I am retired and delighted to be so. May I live long and write frequently.


      1. Tonight’s new fire is behind Monrovia, east of Pasadena. Probably about 25-30 miles from me. The scary thing is that it’s a very urban area — urbanization is no longer protection from wildfires! It’s been a very scary week (see also my response to Marilyn’s comment)

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        1. I know that 4 homes were devoured in Bel Air–that is very close to where I lived.. and on the coast in Santa Monica and along the 405. I never thought it could happen in urban areas either. Santa Rosa–such a tragedy. Now L.A. When will it stop? Stay safe.

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          1. Thanks — I’m now feeling that I’m as safe as anybody else — but that could change at any time. Area-wide, more than 500 homes have been lost, and it hasn’t stopped yet! The 101 was closed off and on overnight a couple of days ago — and La Conchita was seriously threatened (they lost one house there, but it was one that was abandoned after the massive landslide several years ago!).. I believe Rupert Murdoch’s Bel Aire home was not lost, thanks to the vineyard that surrounds it! When will it stop — when the “weather” changes.


    1. I think Nancy didn’t realize that when she put up the post. We have friends out there — a lot of them. Some have fled, some are “so far, so good.” It’s bad. Montana virtually burnt down and large chunks of Idaho and other place in the northwest. This is a scary thing. I understand you have some serious wind problems now, too.

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      1. I’m sure she probably had no idea there was a new fire — in fact I first heard about it as I was reading this post! We have had serious winds all week — the first fire, the Thomas Fire, began on the first night of Santana Winds which that night were gusting to 80 mph! The winds quieted for about the last 24 hours, but they are picking up again tonight and expected to do so again tomorrow. There’s no real relief predicted until next weekend! I hope they can stop this new fire in its tracks — it’s difficult at night and in high winds! The week has been a real wake-up call that urbanization is no protection any more — fires like this will go wherever they want!

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        1. I’m not sure what they will do. The climate in California has changed so much in the past 20 years and even more in the last 10. It’s so hot and dry, it’s not at all the same place it was … even when WE were there, and that wasn’t all that long ago. Keep in touch. Garry’s been trying to keep tabs on everyone out there, but a lot of people are now losing power and cable, so it’s hard to know if they are still at home. All we can do is worry and wait.

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          1. As I grew up in Southern California, there was maybe one bad fire every 10 years or so — now there are 5-10 bad fires each year, and they are far more extensive! This series happened to coincide with a wind episode that has been really intense. The senior fire officials are all saying that they’ve never seen wind behavior or fire behavior like this in their 20-30 years of experience! I’ll continue to comment on posts, and will probably try to update my previous post in the next day or two. In the meantime, I am sleeping with the windows at least a crack open so I can hear the cops come by if there should be a need to evacuate, and there is a really effective reverse 911 system in place here — the motto is Ready, Set, Go — I’m at the ready stage, which means I’ve thought about the things I’d take if I had to. Set is putting things in the car if there’s a voluntary evacuation order, and Go is when the order becomes mandatory. I don’t anticipate having to use Set or Go (I think I’d be inclined to go as soon as possible after the Set phase began!), So far, I’m relatively safe — 25 or so years ago there was a fire that came down Laguna Canyon and split to go north and south along the coast — I was within a mile of flames in two directions at that time, and watched it very closely — I’m nowhere near that close so far this time!

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              1. Sunday morning update — the fire jumped from 155K acres yesterday to 173K acres this morning! It continues to march towards Carpinteria, Montecito, and Santa Barbara, with evacuation warnings in the foothills of all three towns. Our Governor visited yesterday, and basically blamed the fires on Trump for pulling out of the Parks Accord! He’s right, though, that this is a new reality, and our fires are likely to be more frequent and more severe than anybody can remember! Last night’s new fire was contained very quickly, and is no longer a threat. The air is quiet here this morning, but quite hazy — in Santa Barbara they are having an ash storm with flakes as big as dimes (any of those could include embers!).!

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                1. Garry was just saying how all his life, he yearned to live where you are — and now, he’s glad he doesn’t. When this country was founded, North Carolina got a lot of snow. So did the mid-Atlantic states where now, they get a little bit and only sometimes. The climate has been gradually changing for a couple of hundred years, but it has sped up hugely in the past 20 and is roaring these days. This was a very unfortunate time to back away from dealing with it. Regardless of what you may think has caused it, it is very real and we have to deal with it. All that melting ice IS changing the ocean. Polar bears are dying of starvation and places like Switzerland which get all their water from melting glaciers are not getting the water they need. It is NOT any kind of lie. It’s the kind of reality you can easily see by looking out your window.

                  We are drying out here, too. The floods which were a regular feature 20 years ago have long vanished and every year, the rivers run dry and the water in our wells drops. I think it will get a lot worse and if we don’t deal with it, we won’t be able to live here or there or elsewhere. We will run out of water and everything will burn down.

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                  1. At least the Pres signed a declaration of emergency, allowing us to have FEMA funding — I was concerned he might add to our punishment by not signing that!


  1. I’ve always wanted to see the inside of your tent. These are great photos. Fire is hard to capture. I’ve never done so successfully, to my knowledge. (Or memory.) Good work. (Good fun?)

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    1. My camera got pretty warm. It helps to have a long lens so you don’t have to get too close. I believe the one of me in the teepee — and it is the only picture I have of me inside — was taken by my granddaughter. She was just beginning to learn to use a camera then. It was 10 years ago — so she would have been 11.

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  2. I’m so sorry to hear about the fires in California, it’s a real tragedy.
    Your photos, thank heavens, show the tamer side of fire. Your Teepee had a fair bit of room inside. It must have been delightful in there.


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