San Marcos Fire Update
May 15, 2014
Update: 1:15 PM While this looks ominous, it is about four or five miles to the south east of us. We are in no danger because there are lots of houses and streets including a Freeway between us and the fire but it does give you an idea of what it is like to be close to a wildfire.
It cooled down overnight and the wind stopped blowing. This morning most of the smoke had cleared and it was 25 degrees cooler than it was yesterday at this time. All is good for now, but they are forecasting record temperatures, 104, for later today. It hasn’t been that hot on this day in San Marcos since 1956 or 58 years.
The biggest difference between today and yesterday is yesterday as we sat on the patio watching the bluebirds, the hummingbirds, and the orioles; in the distance we would first see a puff, then a bellow of black smoke rise into the air. Out of nowhere air tankers would roar in dropping fire retardant. The black smoke would then turn white and begin to dissipate. Just when you thought they had that fire under control, another puff would appear with more black smoke bellowing into the air and all was repeated. By 3 PM we had fires burning to the southwest of us, the west of us and to the north of us. That’s when we decided it was time to gas up in case we needed to leave. As Donna and I drove South on Twin Oaks Valley Road to the gas station, a small puff of smoke appeared on the mountainside just above and to the southeast of Cal State University. What we were seeing was the start of the San Marcos fire.
Within less than 5 seconds the small puff of smoke had exploded into red flames shooting 40 feet into the air creating a giant black mushroom cloud. By the time we pulled into the gas station the hot Santa Ana winds were driving the fire west at an incredible speed. The small puff we had first seen was now a raging wildfire over a quarter mile wide. We now had fires burning north, south and west of us. That was yesterday.
Today we are enjoying the bluebirds, which are mating, the hummingbirds which are fighting for territory and the orioles which just seem to be coming in for the free food and water. The only smoke we can see is to the south, the San Marcos Fire, which in the last hour has picked up with the rise in temperature. I can hear the air tankers coming in and as I look to the east a large billow of smoke is rising into the sky.
For now all is good, but the San Marcos Fire continues to burn.
On a happier note, last week Donna and I took a trip to the mountains nearby. I took my camera. A cold front moved in and it snowed on us. Can you believe how fast that weather can change? Last week it was snowing, this week it’s blazing over 100 degrees. The cold front also brought in a flock of western tanagers. They were everywhere in the tall pine trees of Idyllwild. I only managed to get one decent picture because by the time I could point and focus my camera with a 500mm lens attached, they were gone to the next branch or tree. We also saw about a half dozen deer, tons of squirrels, but only a few mountain bluebirds.
Enjoy the photos and we will keep you posted.
Carlos and Donna Royal