Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Moonlight Fire

That's the official name of this fire. Isn't it beautiful? It's because the fire started in a place called Moonlight Valley. Although I'm sure Moonlight Valley is no longer beautiful in the traditional sense. Despite it's destructive force, I have to say that the smoke plume was awe inspiring yesterday. It was the most impressive I've ever seen, and I've seen more than my share. It was almost sentient. At twilight it took the form of a Chinese dragon, smoking and curving above the valley.

I tried to put photos together to show you the length of the plume in the afternoon. This was the best I could do. To get even the smallest sense of what it felt like to have this giant above you, you have to click on these photos to enlarge them.

That white spot in the photo is an airplane.

What I couldn't photograph is how the smoke owned the southwestern sky while a storm formed in the northeastern side of the valley clinging to the the smoke tail. All afternoon the storm grew and grew swooping around towards the front of the smoke plume until it looked like the clash of the titans overhead. Eventually the storm met the smoke and instead of fighting they merged into a swirling ourobouros in the heavens.

After twilight, the sky glowed orange above the mountain ridge for half the night. Not some little foothills, this is THE mountain, Diamond Peak. The intensity ebbed and flowed like the coals of a forest campfire until finally cooling to blackness in the cold of early morning.

This morning the statistics say the dragon has consumed 5,000 square miles and only 15%, it's tail, contained. The smoke this morning is flowing low and farther south and unlike the drama of yesterday, it's only a giant "fog" bank peaking from behind the southern edge of the mountain range.


Anonymous Deirdre said...

Your photos are incredible, and certainly show the beauty as well as the immense danger involved.

But still for another year I sit here and wonder how anyone could live with this kind of threat year after year?

:-D eirdre

5:23 PM  
Anonymous Anne said...

wow. those clouds. amazing..

12:03 AM  

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