The CZU Lightning Complex Fire got no closer than a mile and a half from here. Except for the ash and the aroma of smoke, there is not much evidence of a fire. The burn zone is within view from here, but the forest is just as green as it was prior to evacuation. I received news while away that smoking debris was falling from the sky here, so did not know what to expect when we returned. So many neighbors were not as fortunate.

1. Fire roasted leaves blew in from the fire. Some were still smoking as they fell. These are two madrone leaves at the top, three tanoak leaves at the bottom, and redwood below the middle.

2. Ash is everywhere! I left on the day prior to the yet unforeseen evacuation, with the intention of returning later, so left windows open. It now smells like a barbecued bacon burger in here.

3. Summer squash survived days of warm weather without irrigation. This was the worst of the wilt. There was nothing ‘ini’ about the ‘zucchini’. They looked like a herd of green dachshunds.

4. Pole beans were in reasonably good condition as well. They recovered rather efficiently after getting irrigated. The few beans that started to wilt and dry were just plucked and discarded.

5. Boxelder are suspiciously defoliating prematurely under a smoky orange sky. I do not know if it is associated with the smoke or the weather, but I doubt that President Trump is involved.

6. Blue gum that is still confined to a #15 can did not wilt any more than the summer squash or pole beans. I am impressed! It must have rooted into the ground below the bottom of the can.

This is the link for Six on Saturday, for anyone else who would like to participate:


26 thoughts on “Six on Saturday: Pompeii

    1. It is not directly bad here. I have only heard of the damage to the west. I can not see it. Those who lost homes have been surprisingly accepting of the situation. Fire is an innate risk of living here.

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  1. I’m glad for this glimpse of how things are there. I’ll confess that I laughed at your line about the zucchini looking like a herd of green dachshunds. That’s the most creative description of the veggie I’ve come across.

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    1. This is not my property. I just work here. Two of my properties burned, but harmlessly so. Stock fig trees grow on one of the properties, but they get cut to the ground in winter anyway. That is how they produce shoots for propagation. Burning to the ground is no different, and is only a few months premature. They will be fine. Adjacent homes were not burned.

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  2. So your home is ok? Thanks for showing us what the aftermath looks like…….sad to see, even knowing that fire is part of the way of life there. It is not part of our way of life here, so it’s hard for us to understand.

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    1. Yes, and although MANY homes burned, a surprising number of homes within the fire zone survived. In some places,the fire was up in the forest canopy. To the west of here, the fire was in the underbrush, but did not damage the redwood canopy much. (Most of the native flora tosses seed as it burns efficiently, but redwoods are one of the few species that survives fire by being less combustible.) I have no pictures of the aftermath because I have not been to the fire zone. I will eventually need to go see my properties that burned, although there is nothing for me to do there.

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      1. So your other properties are just land, no buildings? I was looking at articles about the redwoods and read that the biggest ones might be damaged but would survive due to their structure being more fire resistant. Mother nature takes care of herself, with some fire being beneficial and that’s fascinating to me, being from an area where fire isn’t ever seen as beneficial. I’m glad you’re all in good shape there.

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      2. The two parcels that burned are undeveloped and forested, with the fig stock trees and and a few other stock plants on one of them.
        The redwoods here are not much more than a century old. They are second growth that regenerated after the region was clear cut harvested to rebuild San Francisco after the Great Fire in 1906. However, the original trees were thousands of years old, and survived many fires during their lifetimes. Those in Big Basin Park were not harvested, so are still thousands of years old. The area had not burned since a few fires in the mid 1950s, but prior to that, burned naturally every few decades or so. No one knows how often it burned, since there are no records of it. Other trees that live a long time, but are more combustible than redwoods, such as oaks and firs, recorded damage from fires in their rings.

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      3. I sometimes wonder what the old oak trees of the Santa Clara Valley must think about their neighborhoods. They had been out there minding their own business for a century or so, when all of a sudden, they are in the bit city! Those at Oakridge Mall (which maintained the tradition of being named after what was destroyed for its development) were humiliated with colorful lights as a collection of rides for children were assembled around them, like a mini amusement park.

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  3. Glad you’ve made it through safely, Tony. Yes, fire danger comes with living there, and the season isn’t through just yet. A dahlia grower near to you showed photos of blooms absolutely covered in ash. No farmer’s market for her that Saturday…

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  4. So sobering and so glad you were spared worse devastation. I was in Pompeii last year. The destructive power of nature is incredible and constant, but even more horrifying when it strikes close to home. I agree with you regarding the amazing acceptance of my one friend I know of who lost his beautiful home. Ready to start building it up again.

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    1. I should post more about how the forest recovers, but I have not been to the area that burned yet. Two of my vacant parcels burned, so I am concerned about home in the neighborhood.


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