Thursday, September 10, 2020

Apocalypse Now?

"With ash dusting the Southland like snow, Labor Day 2020 has vibes of the apocalypse."
LA Times, Sept. 8, 2020

"I quite literally have no patience for climate change deniers. You may not believe it intellectually, but your own eyes, your own experiences, tell a different story."
California Governor Gavin Newsom
 
In related headlines...
National Forest Service announces unprecedented closures of all national forests in Southern California, including trails and campgrounds, amid scorching temperatures and extreme fire danger.
 
Woodland Hills reached a high of 121 degrees on Sunday, which was the highest official temperature ever recorded in the history of LA County.
 
Wildfire within the Mojave National Preserve ravaged the heart of one of the world's largest Joshua tree forests. The Joshua trees are not expected to survive.
Screen shot, LA Times, 9/8/2020
The National Weather Service is predicting hot, dry Santa Ana winds to begin later today (Tuesday), making this the worst potential wildfire season on record. As bad as the wildfires are now, they will get worse.

I could continue, but you get the picture. Things are not good here, and we're not the only ones struggling. I keep asking the question "how could things possibly get any worse?" I finally realize, I'm asking the wrong question. 

I went out for a walk last night after dinner. The sky color was very strange... Kind of a yellow-gray, with a dash or purple. The sun was a reddish color. I was walking in an area where few others walk, and wearing my mask. The mask wasn't because of COVID, but because of the unhealthful air quality. Ash falling from the sky may be toxic. You are not even supposed to get it on your skin, and everyone is being told to stay indoors if at all possible. So rather than breath in toxic ash and do irreparable damage to my lung tissue, I kept my mask on for the entire hike. In the photo above, the hawk on the pole seems to be wondering the same thing I was wondering: "What's going on with the world, and why does it look so different?"



Buildings, houses, concrete and asphalt for as far as the eye can see (which isn't far on this particular evening). Such a strange, eerie sky.
 
California's answer to the affordable housing problem has always been to build more houses. The spot where these photos were taken is one of the last remaining open spaces in North Orange County, but will soon be developed. More houses, more roads, more traffic, etc., etc. Personally, I don't think building more houses is going to fix anything. Quite the contrary. 
 
As the sun moved lower on the horizon, it started to disappear into the haze and smoke. But I managed to get this photo (using a telephoto lens) before that happened. It reminds me of some alien planet in a science fiction movie.

Another alien sun shot. So long, you strange looking sun. We'll see what tomorrow brings.
 
By 7:20 PM, half the sun had disappeared into the smoky haze of the sky. Or, I guess if you're an optimist, half the sun was still visible. Either way, do you blame me for wearing a mask over my nose and mouth?
 
 
Even with the yucky, smoky sky trapped under the clouds, the blue sky up above provides hope for a better tomorrow. One can always hope.
 
Linking with Skywatch Friday.
Stay safe & stay healthy!!


60 comments:

  1. Hell on Earth, I feel we have a lot to answer for and I do not think the big corporations help and certain people who think the only thing that means any thing is making profit at the expense of the people who have to live with the problems they create. We live in sad times

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  2. Yeah, the color of the sky has been wrong for days now. I'm really beginning to hate this time of year just due to the fear of fire. You'd think we'd have done something about this by now, but too many are more enamored of profit and not making any changes. But we can so do this.

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  3. Oh, that is strange Peter.

    Stay save

    Best regards
    Bernhard

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  4. ...California is the canary in the coal mine, what will it take for people to wake up. VOTE BLUE!!! Be safe my friend.

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  5. You have some phenomenal pictures here!!

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  6. I'm thankful that here in NZ we don't get many bushfires, in Summer however we have fire bans so that no one can light fires, still get stupid people that ignore that though.

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  7. This looks like science fiction but unfortunately this is reality ! This is harsh and I send you all my compassion !

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  8. I couldn't imagine. A friend in northern Cali sent some photos...just so devastating. Sending hugs and lots of compassion, truly, I don't know how you do it.

    I'll just be truthful, I think very less thoughts of your governor and ours here in NY. (in reference to your quote)

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    1. I am confused, Linda. Why would the quote make you think less of Governor Newsom? (He isn't my Governor by the way, so I don't have a horse in that race!)
      I just wondered what he said that is disagreeable.

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  9. Wow bad situation!!
    Very good photoes though!

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  10. Not quite as bad here, but it's been a pale orange all day today. I hate the fires, I hate the smoke. But wow-- what pictures!

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  11. One must never give up hope that tomorrow will be a better day. I hope that this disastrous fire season will end soon and these fires will be extinguished. I feel deeply for those who have lost their homes and livelihoods to the flames, makes me very sad. Stay safe xx

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  12. Peter, I'm back! Only for the life of me I can't get the images of my post to appear in the linky tool (also tried the two other ways they suggest). I tried multiple times today. Sorry, already the 20th of Aug. it looked eerie when we left California. Ash-sky drive for 6 hours until we passed the Grape vine ... your captures are still beautiful though. Hope this will pass in a month or two?

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  13. Dramatic photos for sure. I am used to the smoke from wildfires in CA, to my south, and areas north of me in OR, filling my valley most summers, but this time we have our own fires. It's so dark right now you'd think it was two hours later. Horrible air quality. I'm staying in. We can't use water for our gardens, lawns, cars, pools, etc. so there's no reason to stress myself by seeing my garden dying. The firefighting efforts are straining water capacity.

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  14. Scary. Here in Germany we are quite safe but in Australia I got scared a couple of times due to wildfires, too.
    "Good luck" over there!
    Sad it even looks beautiful...

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  15. I'm sitting in Oregon watching half my state burn up. It's horrifying....

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  16. Beautiful pictures. Man cannot surmount nature but he fails to understand

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  17. We really must be better stewards of the world.

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  18. Wildfires----UGH! So terrible. We have more fires in Washington than we usually have had. All bad. So sad to see the Joshua trees burned. Sad. That is the only word I know right now.
    Take care
    MB

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  19. Awesome but sad photos! Praying for everyone and all animals that are dealing with the fires.

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  20. That looks bad, hope for the best but...

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  21. Hello,
    These wildfires are so scary and the devastating loss is just sad. I am sure the smoke is not good for humans or the wildlife. The photos of the sky and sun are dramatic and beautiful. I hope you and your family stay safe. Take care, wishing you a good day and happy weekend.

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  22. The photos have a kind of horrific beauty. It's easy for politicians to say things like that, but very difficult for them to tell us to drive smaller cars, stop flying everywhere and eat a different diet. And therein lies the problem.

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  23. Its so horrid, and you are right building back Homes as We have been doing is not the answer! Like the homes on the beach are built up on stilts, so they should build homes out of fireproof stone and stucco...with clay roof tiles that don't catch fire and burn with rock gardens..If they don't change the way they build the west will become unlivable. The photos are beautiful but in that beauty is danger.

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  24. Beautiful captures of a world gone bonkers!

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  25. Damn Brother - I Mean Amazing Photos But Damn - What A Dreadful Post - Not A Reflection On You But Absolutely Horrid Situation - So Bummed About Those Joshua Trees - Devastated By The Decades Of Drought And The Lack Of Responsible Humans - Is There Anything Worth Looking Forward To - Everyday Becomes More And More Defeating

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  26. Beautiful photos but terrifying to see. How can we not act on climate change when the earth is cooking.

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  27. Yes, there is always 'hope' ~ where would we be without it ~ Gorgeous photos of a sad state of nature and anyone that can deny 'climate change' ~ is well ... an idiot ~ I hope you are safe ~ It saddens me what is happening ~ Xox

    Live each moment with love,

    A ShutterBug Explores,
    aka (A Creative Harbor)

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  28. All the pollution gives interesting sky shots, but oh, the cost! So sad.

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  29. It's pretty bad here in the PNW. We have friends that have lost their houses. We moved here partially because of living through the Missionary Ridge Fire In SW Colorado where CO is drying up and beetles are killing the forests. We thought that a wetter climate would help. HA! So much for that theory. My beloved JT cabin and JT forest was destroyed by 3 wildfires in the park (another answer as to why the rock "fortress") in a span of 5 years when the forest stood for 100 years untouched (thanks to the grasses that cattlemen introduced). Things are getting ugly and we may be in for a rough ride. Juneau AK is starting to look good!

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  30. So tragic and surreal. Sad about the losses to humans and the uncertainty of residual effects on health. The loss of the beautiful Joshua Trees is disheartening. I hope you get thorough all this safely. Take care.

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  31. Beautiful and sad at the same time. It looks horrible and hopefully you get through this safely and ok. Be safe!

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  32. Heartbreaking. At least one blogger (Oregon) I enjoy reading has had to evacuate. A horrible beauty; I hope you and your family can stay safe and well.

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  33. Your pictures are beautiful and scarry at the same time. Stay safe.

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  34. So sorry about all the fires. YOur pictures of the sun are really amazing.

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  35. It's very sad what is going on south of the border with all the fires. So very tragic. Your photos are made all the more poignant by the stories behind them. Keep safe.

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  36. So sad fro loss of life, property and beautiful forests! This has been the worst year for so many reasons, but all the western wildfires--including those in Colorado--have been horrific. Our environment is definitely getting warmer and dryer and all the forest loss will only make this worse going forth. We all have to vote for more environmentally friendly government and do our own part in reducing our impact as much as possible.

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  37. Horrible and sad. Hope for a better tomorrow and better air quality. Beautiful shots of the strange looking sun. Take care and stay safe.

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  38. We saw the horrible fires on the news. It is really awful. Take care of yourselves.

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  39. I’ve been thinking of you and wondering how near you the fires had gotten. The photos are hauntingly wondrous and beautiful if you don’t think of the devastation, pain and loss of the fire.

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  40. :(. your photos are gorgeous even in this terrible situation.

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  41. It's definitely a mess out there. You took some beautiful photos! Love the clouds in the last two. Stay safe!

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  42. I'm impressed by your photos as always. But what a horrible situation. Small parts of the smoke seem to reach to Europe at the moment. We have got to change our way of life fast and good.
    All the best overthere. Stay safe, Peter!

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  43. Glad to read that you wore a mask while outdoors in those conditions. Too bad the hawk and other animals can't be protected as well. Not only is the loss of forests and homes so devastating but also the loss of wildlife which I've read little about. Thanks for the look at such a very sad situation. A friend living in OR sent some similar orange sky photos from his area.

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  44. Just awful .. but the photos are beautiful.

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  45. It's a heartbreaking situation SPP, reminds me of the horror of the Blue mountains fires in NSW last summer.. all those poor birds and animals, not the mention the trees and bushlands. The world does seem to be going pear shaped at the moment. As Annie above noted, still very beautiful photos here ✨

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  46. Wow, I don't blame you for wearing a mask.

    In the US, its all the same in terms of single family homes. Build further and further out, bulldoze forests, meadows, prairies, whatever. Put up 3 and 4 bedroom houses, three car garages and get bigger and bigger cars and drive farther and farther to work.
    There has to be a better way.

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  47. You have some amazing photos here. We have been seeing the smoke over here for the past 4 days but not as bad as you have it. In fact they told us the air was okay to breath. It just looks strange. I took a long walk Sunday morning and every photo I took has a yellowish tint to it. You are so right about the building of more houses. That won't solve anything and will certainly make things worse.

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  48. Those are stunning sky pictures! Too bad its because of something so awful!

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  49. It is so sad about the trees and ... so much. I did not expect so many disasters to happen so soon. We were warned but I thought we had more time. So far we are doing well in Virginia. Be careful out there.

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  50. These fires get more devastating each year and it is not about to get better any time soon. I read with great sadness about thousands of birds dropping out of the sky in New Mexico. Some had been forced to leave their breeding grounds too early and had not put on enough fat reserves for migration and others were affected by the toxic nature of the air they were breathing as they attempted long distance flight and succumbed to it. We sure have screwed up this planet. Say hello to Lilly - and apologize for the mess we are leaving her generation.

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  51. Oh Peter, I’ve been almost afraid to come visit you. Things are about the same here except not so hot . (And if we’re talking blog-wise, not such good pictures). I haven’t been outside for over a week ... crazy-making. It does feel apocalyptic these days. For so many reasons. .... it *is* a little better here air today than when I wrote my post Sunday. There may be hope. Wishing you all the best.

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  52. I don't need to be convinced about climate change - Governor Newsom's quote is spot on. How much more destruction are we going to tolerate before we get serious about saving our only planet? OK, sorry. I would say your photos are beautiful, but perhaps the better thing to say is - thanks for using your talent to document the need for change!

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  53. My heart goes out to my native California. We are in day six of smoky skies here in Coastal BC. There's not enough sunlight getting through to even make it red in the evening. We've only been out once because the particulate in the air is so fine and heavy. We wore our masks for double duty. - Margy

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