Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

The Sun was Red Saturday Morning in Santa Monica, Los Angeles

Smoke from fire drifted 27 miles, made it feel as if the sun has set two hours early in Santa Monica

7/23: In Santa Monica and elsewhere in Los Angeles, the sunlight appears to be red. Particles arise into the atmosphere from a forest fire, sometimes traveling for miles. The particles produce a scattering effect upon the component parts of white light. The Sand Fire in Santa Clarita has now burned more than 20,000 acres.

Update 4 PM: it's now cooler outside my apartment then inside in Santa Monica. This is because the cloud of smoke has completely obscured the sun. Temperatures have fallen 10° Fahrenheit in just a few minutes. I am reminded of the London fog of 1896, depicted recently in Penny Dreadful. Wait -- was that a vampire bat?

In Los Angeles, the cloud of smoke is reflecting the Sun's radiation back into space and the blacktop is losing heat.

For those of you reading this article somewhere outside Los Angeles county, sunset appears to have come early to Los Angeles. If you live here, you already know that because you've gone outside and seen how much the temperature has fallen.

At 5 PM it is so dark here in my neighborhood of Santa Monica, 90403, that people are driving with their headlights on. It appears as if the sun has set two hours early.

It is eerily silent outside, because the birds have stopped singing. Portland Oregon after the eruption of Mount Saint Helens in 1981 must've felt a bit like this. I'm just glad I'm in Santa Monica, not Santa Clarita, where 1500 homes have been evacuated.

The Air Quality Management District (AQMD) has issued a smoke advisory for Los Angeles County, until midnight Sunday, 7/24. People who are elderly, sensitive and small children should stay indoors.

And remember, this is all a part of nature. Wildfires are part of the natural fire ecology throughout our California coastal sage and chaparral ecoregion. Habitats of this hot, dry coast must survive and revive following the regular forest fires, and the dominant plant species have adapted to burn every 4 or 5 years. Uncomfortable as that is for LA County's 10 million residents.

An afterglow is a broad high arch of whitish or rosy light appearing in the sky due to very fine particles of dust suspended in the high regions of the atmosphere.

After the eruption of the volcano Krakatoa in 1883, a remarkable series of red sunsets appeared worldwide. They were probably caused by an enormous amount of exceedingly fine dust blown to a great height by the volcano's explosion, and then globally diffused by the high atmospheric currents. Edvard Munch's painting The Scream possibly depicts an afterglow during this period.

Red sunlight has many mentions in literature throughout time. In The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner, Samuel Coleridge speaks of the "Bloody Sun", as does Homer in The Iliad and The Odyssey.

A fast-moving brush fire burning in the hillsides of Santa Clarita has burned over 6,000 acres with no containment early Saturday morning, Los Angeles County Fire Department officials tweeted.

The fire broke out Friday afternoon, starting at a small acreage before exploding to more than 3,000 acres by the evening hours.

Evacuation orders were in effect for homes in the Soledad Canyon along the 14 Freeway to Agua Dulce Canyon Road.

About 200-300 homes in the Little Tujunga area, from Bear Divide to Gold Creek, were under mandatory evacuations. The area from Gold Creek to the bottom of Camp 16 was listed as voluntary evacuations.

The Red Cross opened an evacuation shelter at Golden Valley High School, 27051 Robert C. Lee Parkway, Santa Clarita. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti also tweeted Friday that the Lake View Terrace Recreation Center, 11075 Foothill Blvd. in Lake View Terrace, would be an evacuation site for those affected by the blaze.

Some evacuations were lifted by early Saturday morning, but firemen may re-evaluate the situation and order them again.

See also:

The Wildlife Waystation was evacuated Saturday and requested help from nearby residents to assist in moving as many of the wild animals as possible. In a Facebook post, the station said about 400 animals would need to be moved out to safety.


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