California really does have the same four seasons that the rest of America has. They just happen to be somewhat subdued in some of the milder climates. The rumor that California has only two seasons, summer and a few days of not-summer, is completely inaccurate. In fact, besides the traditional four season, we have a fifth season that overlaps at least summer and autumn. It reality, this season never ends. It is always ‘fire season’.
Like any other season, fire season affects how we garden here. We prefer to grow plants that are less combustible, which is often contrary to the preference for native specie. In suburban and rural areas, we must manage native vegetation and keep it away from our homes and other buildings. When the weather gets smoky from forest fires, some of us postpone gardening chores for healthier weather.
The Rincon Fire near Paradise Park (not to be confused with Paradise) burned for a few days a week and a half ago, and filled the Valley with thick smoke. By the time that smoke cleared out, smoke moved in from the Camp Fire that burned Paradise more than two hundred miles to the north. Smoke from the Woolsey Fire and the Hill Fire that both started on the same day in Los Angeles and Ventura Counties stayed to the south. The Bear Fire, which was the second relatively small forest fire in our region, started and was contained just yesterday, just a few miles outside of Boulder Creek. Most of us were not aware of it until after it was contained.
Incidentally, a 50% chance of rain is predicted for next Wednesday.
1. Clear blue sky finally appeared on Thursday morning.
2. The orange moon demonstrates how smoky the sky was on the previous evening. It is not easy to zoom in and get a good picture of the moon.
3. Ponderosa pine forests are the more combustible parts of our region. The darker understory is a mix of coast live oak, canyon live oak, madrone and other chaparral flora. The dead ponderosa pine that I got a picture of for ‘Six on Saturday: Dia de los Muertos’ is to the right in this picture. Sunsets were spectacularly colorful before the smoke blew away. I can not explain why the color was so bland when this picture was taken.
4. Our debris pile continues to accumulate more biomass from the landscapes and surrounding forests. It is not yet big in this picture. It will get significantly bigger before it gets taken away. Once gone, we start the process all over again. It never ends. There is so much forest out there, and we are constantly trying to keep it away from the buildings.
5. These numbers on the side of my work vehicle allowed the volunteer firefighter who used to drive it to go into areas that had been evacuated ahead of forest fires. Several of our vehicles are outfitted with these decals.
6. This is the picture that you probably did not want to see. It is what remains of the home of one of my colleague’s clients in Malibu after the Woolsey Fire moved through. The front garden was exquisite. The home was even better.
This is the link for Six on Saturday, for anyone else who would like to participate: