Today we are to expect some rain. There is a storm that will hit the Monterey Bay area and NWS is expecting up to 1/2 inch down here. I went down to Pacific Valley in the evening to watch the storm approach the coast. There was fire right along the highway and traffic was being controlled. As I drove through there were firefighters monitoring a large bush go up in 15 foot flames. I got past there, checked the surf, realized I was too late and it was getting dark and so just decided to take some pictures.
Here is cone peak peering out of the mist.
It was remarkable to see the fire glowing through the clouds.
After it got dark I parked at the bottom of a gully about three north of Kirk Creek. There was a lot of fire up high but it had also moved down to within 100 feet from the road. There was a Ceonothus bush going up right there. I witnessed three remarkable phenomena at this time.
I saw an example of what firefighters refer to as “rollout”. This is where burning debris rolls down steep slopes and can catch fire to vegetation far below. I heard a big pop from way up the canyon and then tons of embers and burning debris rolled about 300 feet down the mountainside into the canyon bottom. I could see how trying to maintain a break with a fire backing down steep terrain is extremely dangerous and susceptible.
I also heard a huge crash come out of the very lower part of the canyon, just up from the highway, as a tree came down. Made me realize how tentative conditions are in a burning forest.
I also saw a very mysterious thing in the middle of a small redwood grove just up from the highway. Inside this ring of trees there were embers swirling around and around. I think it was the fibers from the redwood bark burning off and getting airborne, then the drafts around the grove were keeping them inside and between the trees themselves. It was impossible to capture with the camera or video but you can kind of see the little lights in the bottom center of this photo.
I took a few pictures of this area to try and capture the big flames and piles of coals that they left behind. It took just a few minutes for these patches to go up.
We shall see what the rain does overnight and tomorrow.