May 6th, 2004
Yes, I live in paradise, but even paradise isn't free from Mother Nature's occasional bad moods. Earthquakes seem to have absent from the headlines for a couple of years, but we still have our wildfires. After three days of above 90° F temperatures, 72° feels like heaven. The fire crews are also thankful for the reduced temperatures. When we get Santa Ana winds, those that blow from East to West from the desert to the coast, our humidity drops to the single digits, and the threat of wildfires increases. The winds tend to be higher in velocity during these periods as well. So we have an area that is essentially desert brush-lined canyons, baked dry by high temperatures and low humidity, just waiting for the stray spark or carelessly discarded cigarette to turn into an inferno. Once a fire starts, the heat it generates further dries the brush, and the high winds help it spread at a very high rate of speed. This year could be especially bad, as drought conditions prevail all over the West. So if your vacation plans this summer include the Southern California area, be sure and pack the sunblock and bottled water...as well as marshmellows and hot dogs. Might as well get some use out of the wild fires.