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Wildfires Continue to Blaze Throughout California

37.7N 122.4W

August 17th, 2009 Category: Fires

Fires in California, Hurricane Guillermo south of Baja California, USA - August 13rd, 2009

Fires in California, Hurricane Guillermo south of Baja California, USA - August 13rd, 2009

Fire in Oregon

Fire in Oregon

Fire south of San Francisco

Fire south of San Francisco

Fire northwest of Los Angeles

Fire northwest of Los Angeles

Over the weekend, gusty winds hampered efforts to put out several wildfires raging across California, authorities said on Saturday. Various fires can be seen in the main image, the most notable of which are found south of San Francisco and northwest of Los Angeles. A long plume of smoke can also be seen further north, in the state of Oregon.

Firefighters were working against time to contain the fires, including a wind-driven blaze in the Santa Cruz Mountains in Central California that was threatening several towns and forced thousands to evacuate, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CDFFP) said.

The greatest danger is posed by the blaze burning north of Santa Cruz, which has destroyed two structures and consumed more than 2,800 acres (about 1,134 hectares), said the department.
Driven by heavy winds, the blaze is threatening the towns of Swanton, Davenport and Bonny Doon, and hand crews have experienced trouble reaching the fire lines. As a result, the fire is mostly being fought by air, the department said.

A second large fire roaring through Los Padres National Forest about 41 kilometers east of Santa Maria has grown, forcing some residents to flee. About 1,600 firefighters are attacking the blaze, which started last Saturday. The cause is unknown.
In the Santa Barbara County, Northern California, a fire has grown to 67,092 acres (about 27,172 hectares) and is 10-percent contained. The area’s rugged terrain and limited access were making it difficult for the hundreds of firefighters on the scene to battle the blaze, firefighters said.
Elswhere in Northern California, several smaller fires were still raging, but a fire in Trinity County was expected to be contained Saturday.

Most of the fires were started by lightning, according to initial investigations. But police were also investigating the possibility of arson. There have been no reports of injuries related to the fires.

California Fires Threaten Homes, Force Evacuations in Two Areas

36.7N 119.4W

August 14th, 2009 Category: Fires

Fires in California, Hurricane Guillermo south of Baja California, USA - August 13rd, 2009

Fires in California, Hurricane Guillermo south of Baja California, USA - August 13rd, 2009

Fires, Northwest of Los Angeles

Fires, Northwest of Los Angeles

Fires, Northwest of Los Angeles

Fires, Northwest of Los Angeles

Fires, South of San Francisco

Fires, South of San Francisco

Two California wildfires, one south of San Francisco and the other northwest of Los Angeles, burned across 51,000 acres today and threatened more than 1,250 homes, authorities said.

Officials ordered 2,400 residents in Swanton and Bonny Doon, 70 miles (113 kilometers) from San Francisco, to flee the fire, which has consumed 2,800 acres (1,120 hectares) and is raging out of control, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

At the same time, some 1,900 firefighters are battling a blaze that has burned at least 48,457 acres in the Los Padres National Forest area of Santa Barbara County, said the state agency, known as Cal Fire.

The Southern California blaze, called the La Brea fire, threatens 21 homes and nine other buildings about 140 miles northwest of Los Angeles, according to the state agency. Steep terrain and isolated locations are making both fires harder to fight, according to authorities.

Residents of about 150 homes and ranches were ordered to evacuate in the face of the advancing La Brea blaze, which began last weekend in a remote section of the forest, according to the Santa Barbara County Fire Department Web site.

The fire has been “very active” in the past 12 hours, expanding by 10,000 acres, the Los Padres National Forest Service said on its Web site yesterday evening local time. Firefighters are using bulldozers, helicopters and planes. The Los Padres National Forest stretches across nearly 2 million acres from the Big Sur Coast in Monterey County to the western edge of Los Angeles. In May, the Jesusita fire in Santa Barbara forced the evacuation of thousands of people before it was contained.

Temperatures in the area are expected to reach 97 degrees Fahrenheit (36 degrees Celsius) today with winds from the west-northwest at about 15 miles per hour, according to the National Weather Service. Temperatures in the area of the Bonny Doon fire may reach 80, the weather service said. An air quality alert because of smoke was issued by the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department.

Point Reyes, the Marin Hills and San Francisco, California

38.0N 122.8W

August 7th, 2009 Category: Snapshots

California, USA - July 3rd, 2009

California, USA - July 3rd, 2009

Water currents in the Pacific Ocean off the west coast of California make interesting patterns as they swirl around Point Reyes (top) and out of the San Francisco Bay (right).

Point Reyes is a prominent cape in Marin County approximately 30 mi (48 km) west-northwest of San Francisco. The term is often applied to the Point Reyes Peninsula, the region bounded by Tomales Bay on the northeast and Bolinas Lagoon on the southeast. The headland is protected as part of Point Reyes National Seashore. In this orthorectified image, Inverness Ridge can be seen running along the peninsula’s northwest-southeast spine.

To the southeast, the city of San Francisco glows at the northern end of the San Francisco Peninsula, with the Pacific Ocean to the west and San Francisco Bay to the east. The Golden Gate Bridge can be seen connecting the peninsula to the Marin Hills in southern Marin County.

Part of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge (to the right of the Golden Gate) and the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge (above the Bay Bridge) can also be seen.

Bridges of the San Francisco Bay Area – July 24th, 2009

37.7N 122.4W

July 24th, 2009 Category: Image of the day

USA - July 9th, 2009

USA - July 9th, 2009

This orthorectified image offers a sharp view of San Francisco and the Bay Area in California, USA. The large bay in the bottom right quadrant is the San Francisco Bay, which connects to the San Pablo Bay to the northwest, which in turn connects to the Suisun Bay, upper right quadrant.

Several bridges can be seen crossing these bays, including the famous Golden Gate Bridge, close to the center, the San Mateo-Hayward Bridge, spanning the lower part of the San Francisco Bay, the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, east of the Golden Gate, and the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge, below San Pablo Bay.

Also of note is the San Francisco International Airport, whose main runways appears as a black cross on the western shores of the San Francisco Bay.

Clouds and Fog Along the California Coast – June 1st, 2009

37.7N 122.4W

June 1st, 2009 Category: Clouds

West Coast, USA - May 25th, 2009

West Coast, USA - May 25th, 2009

San Francisco Bay

San Francisco Bay

Here, the coast of California is framed by a blanket of clouds and sea fog. Fog begins to form when water vapor (a colorless gas) condenses into tiny liquid water droplets in the air. Fog normally occurs at a relative humidity near 100%.

Another common type of formation is associated with sea fog (also known as haar or fret), due to the peculiar effect of salt. Clouds of all types require minute hygroscopic particles upon which water vapor can condense. Over the ocean surface, the most common particles are salt from salt spray produced by breaking waves.

Except in areas of storminess, the most common areas of breaking waves are located near coastlines, hence the greatest densities of airborne salt particles are there.

Condensation on salt particles has been observed to occur at humidities as low as 70%, thus fog can occur even in relatively dry air in suitable locations such as the California coast, as shown here. Typically, such lower humidity fog is preceded by a transparent mistiness along the coastline as condensation competes with evaporation, a phenomenon that is typically noticeable by beachgoers in the afternoon.

The close-up focuses on San Francisco, where the combination of cold ocean water and the high heat of the California mainland create the city’s characteristic fog that can cover its western half all day during the spring and early summer. The fog is less pronounced in eastern neighborhoods, in the late summer, and during the fall, which are the warmest months of the year.

The high hills in the geographic center of the city protect neighborhoods directly to their east from the foggy and cool conditions experienced in the Sunset District; for those who live on the eastern side of the city, San Francisco is sunnier, with an average of 260 clear days, and only 105 cloudy days per year.