Monday, July 22, 2013

Mountain Fire - Riverside County

The Chariot Fire (subject of my last post) was declared out on July 15th at 0600.
Less than 8 hours later, the Mountain Fire started about 50 miles away. As of this moment, the fire is almost five times larger than the Chariot Fire. Thankfully, there has been some rain the last two days (more on the way) and officials with (Cal Fire) believe they will have the fire out by Wednesday. Of course all this rain is a mixed blessing because now there is concern about mudslides and flash floods. Wild fires and mudslides! All we need now is an earthquake to complete the California trifecta. 

In my last post I showed you photos from the Chariot fire. It was south-east from where we were camped. In almost the exact opposite direction (north-west), this is what we saw the same day the Chariot Fire was extinguished.

This photo was taken from our campsite and is 40 to 50 miles away (as the crow flies). It was late in the afternoon and the smoke was almost due west of where I was standing, so I decided to stay there to see what sunset might do to this scene.

Right on cue, the wind died. Rather than spreading out downwind, the smoke just sat there building up into this massive and scary looking cloud. Don't get me wrong, I know the area where this fire was raging and it sickened me, but I still couldn't help feeling a little bit excited about what this monster might look like at sunset, if the wind stays calm. Does anybody else see an evil face in this thing?


The next evening at about the same time. Maybe it's the residual LSD from my formative years, but doesn't the smoke look like a large creature's bulbous head and face laying on it's side?



  1. I know the fire is terrible, but your photos are just stunning!

    The cloud looked like monster..

  2. Pat, I've been driving to Palm Springs to take photos of the fire from that side since I wasn't able to drive out Highway 74. Yes, the fire is now 68% contained, thanks to yesterday's rain! And, Idyllwild will be open this morning. I may take a drive up there. Take care!
    Cheryl Ann

  3. What absolutely stunning pictures! And no, it's not the LSD- those clouds do look like something~

  4. The middle ones look like a volcanic eruption. Awesome shots, Pat. Sad knowing how much the fire destroyed though.

  5. Hi there - these fires are terrible and grand at the same time. The more we try to put them out, the more they store up fuel. We had huge fires here a couple of years ago - over 100 people died - so its always hard to see images of fires from other places.

    Stay safe.

    Stewart M - Melbourne

  6. Those fires are scary things to be sure!

  7. Wildfires out west! YIKES!
    It makes living next to New Jersey mild by comparison.
    Although they sometimes set their cities on fire, too.

  8. Those photos are stunning. But behind them lies a red eyed monster consuming everything in it's path. Nature is like a beautiful goddess with an evil heart.

  9. well, the layers of mountains make for gorgeous photos, even if the wildfire is terrifying. i sure hope they can put them out!

  10. Our mountains are finally coming back to life around here after our big fire. I want some of that residual LSD, man. I want to see what you see. Great pictures, Patrick!

  11. I see both evil and beauty in that noxious tower of smoke: further proof that the world is more a mixture of greys than blacks and whites.

    I've been cloudspotting all week as part of our most recent Thematic theme, so your observations totally speak to me. I wish fires didn't have to happen, of course, but since Mother Nature dictates otherwise, I'm perfectly OK with trying to find the beauty in it. So glad you chose to share these.

  12. Oh, yes! And a scary creature it is indeed! Great captures, Pat! Gorgeous skies and colors -- too bad those are a result of the fires!

  13. Icy BC - Thanks so much! It was a beautiful and devastating scene, all at the same time. I agree about the cloud!

    Cheryl Ann - I've thought about you and your several times and knew you'd try to get a good vantage point. It's to be able to say that Idyllwild will be open. Cal Fire said it was touch and go for awhile. I know you love that area and were hating that it was on fire. YOU take care...

    Shelly - Thanks Shelly! Yep, they do look like something. Something evil!

    Alex - I thought the same thing Alex. This fire was bad, but if not for the rain and change of wind, we must might be talking about the devastation of a town with about 6000 people living in and around it.

    Stewart - You are so right! This particular area hadn't burnt in many decades. There is always a debate going on about fire suppression. I sure don't have the answers.

    Sally - It sure is scary! I'm sure that living in a forested area would make it even more so.

  14. Yes, I see that beast and he doesn't look friendly! Great photos!!!

  15. Al P - Wildfires are a constant threat and reality here. Although you can't see it in clearly in the first photo. The second mountain ridge from the front of the photo burnt in May. It burnt the day we left (so we didn't see it) and the only reason we were there in the first place, was because the place we were planning on going to was blocked by another big fire. Even the place I was standing to take these photos has burnt twice in the past twelve years. Scary stuff! Happily, no cities torched here for quite a while...

    Sharon - Thanks Sharon! So true about mother nature. If it was just mother nature. Unfortunately, many of them are set by crazies. About ten years ago the larges wildfire in recorded California history (the Cedar fire) was intentionally started by an arsonist. It DEVASTATED San Diego county. Even today there are roads that go miles and miles through areas containing hundreds of thousands of dead and burnt trees. The area where I took this photos was was in the middle of it. That fire consumed over 400 square miles and destroyed thousands of buildings. At the same time, there were 13 other major wildfires burning in Southern California!

    TexWixGirl - Thanks! It is a beautiful area. In between each of those ranges are beautiful places and all are different. Thanks to the rain, it may be out this week!

    Bossy Betty - It takes a while, but nature sure does pop back up!

    I'm sure a blood transfusion from me would do the trick! I know it wasn't wise take all that LSD back then, but it has made for a more colorful take on life. The trails man, look at the trails... That reminds that I still have some blog drafts of more experiences while under the influence. Someday!

    Sylvia - Very scary! You are right about the colors. We get great sunsets almost every day from our backyard. Sometimes we look at it and can tell by the color of it that there is a fire burning somewhere in the area.

    Carmi - That is so true Carmi! If only people could get away from their black and/or white view of life. Mother nature usually does dictate. Thanks Carmi!

  16. Eek, yes a monster cloud! All these big fires are monsters in my humble opinion. Always reminds me on one Fall where more than 8 fires were burning in the LA basin, and I couldn't go outside for a whole week without starting to cough (fire in Riverside).
    Thanks for capturing this one!

  17. Kind looks like the smoke pouring off of a volcano. Great shots. Seems like you were in the perfect spot for all these pictures.

  18. I hate fires--but they do make for some fabulous sunset photos ---and photos PERIOD.... Your photos of the mountains are GREAT.


  19. Michelle in the state of WAJuly 22, 2013 at 4:50 PM

    Yah Pat... that last pic looks kinda like you with the wire rimmed glasses you wore,(one side anyway) your uncontrollable hair off the top, then the nose and mouth! Did I get it right??? You just wanted to see if anyone else saw the resemblance!!!

  20. sickening to think of the destruction caused by the fire, but the pictures you took are beautiful.

  21. Brian - Thanks Brian! It doesn't look friendly at all.

    Jesh - Indeed it is! We've had some bad years, that's for sure. In 2003 (the year of the huge Cedar fire) there were FOURTEEN major fires burning in the western half of southern California.

    TS Henrik - Thanks Tim! I also thought it looked just like a volcano. I hunt for those spots!

    Betsy - I also hate them! I'd rather not have the opportunity to take these photos, but as long as it's there, I will! Thanks Betsy.

    Michelle - HA! Michelle, I still have those glasses. Maybe it does look a little like me. Handsome cloud...

    Gingerspark - Thanks so much! I feel the same way!

  22. Great photos--I'm out west now (at Tahoe as I write this) but when I was in the Upper Owen Valley on Friday, they were getting smoke from the fires in Southern California.

  23. Yes, those massive summer plumes; I have come to know and dread them. It is good you are out there documenting it all, respectfully. My heart breaks for the human and animal lives that are ruined. I have seen too close a couple of times and it is fierce and fearsome. Be careful out there!

  24. Wow Amazing shots! I especially love the sunset one.

  25. .•°♡♡♫° ·.

    Um incêndio é triste porque destrói o que a natureza levou anos para construir, mas, a natureza é teimosa, sempre se renova!

    Ótima quarta-feira cheia de saúde.

  26. Hey Mr. P! Loving the photos as always. I spent a while avoiding wildfires in Colorado last month, having to detour around them. Scary things. Wishing you luck, California!!!

  27. It does look like a creature!!

    So much fire, I am hoping everyone is ok!

  28. I hope it is out by now; you're living dangerously my friend -- stay safe and far away from the flames and smoke. (I don't see a creature in that last photo, but it has been over half a century since my formative years!)

  29. Laura - Hard to image the view if we had been closer.

    sage - Thanks! This time of year there are fires everywhere it seems. Enjoy your trip!

    Stickup Artist - I agree! You know they are coming, it's just a matter of where. Very sad. Just a couple months ago they were dropping water on a fire VERY close to our house.

    mshatch - I'd say that is pretty good summation.

    James - Thanks James! I wasn't budging until the sun went down.

    Magia - Obrigado Magia! Yes, no matter how long it takes, nature will prevail.

    Kato - Thanks! I was wondering if people would see it as clearly as i do.

    Sallie - It is still burning, but about 95% contained. We are home for a couple of weeks. It's raining and that will help keep things down for a while. It may have been a long time (since your formative years) but here's to technicolor memories...

  30. Pat, the scary part is I could see those things before I read your captions. Must have been the same batch ;)

  31. The second photo is just stunning. I love the different shades of blue and the contrast of the landscape to the smoke cloud

  32. those are some really mindblowing sky pictures, Pat, fit for NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC!

  33. Nice pictures, I love those landscapes of peaks crowned by that great cloud, spectacular!

  34. Great shots Pat- even thou we all know that wildfires are devilish creatures of destruction which sometimes cost humans their lives.

    My hubby was a volunteer firemen for 26 years.

  35. We've had a forest fire on the other side of the Sierras...raging uncontrolled through rugged country, with little access for fire's been so smokey up here I was seriously considering heading back down south immediately after getting home on Thursday!!! Completely grey up beautiful clouds and colors like your shots!!! Nice captures!!!

  36. Too many wildfires this summer! At least you weren't too close to this one, and the photos are good.

  37. Those are some wicked pics..Amazing how beautiful that cloud was with ravages going on below..
    I spit out my coffee on your LSD remark.. Hilarious!!

  38. Chuck - "Don't take the brown acid!"
    I saw the faces immediately also, except I saw them with my naked eyes!

    Mynx - Thanks Mynx! It was quite a scene, that's for sure.

    DEZMOND - Thanks! I appreciate you saying that. Nat'l Geo type photos take far too much time and work for me.

    Leovi - Thanks so much Leovi!

    Pam - Thanks Pam! It is a mixed bag for sure. Being a volunteer fireman is above and beyond.

    TheChieftess - Thanks Kathryn! I know you have! Sometimes they just have to watch it burn because they can't get to it. VERY scary stuff!

    Al - Thanks Al! Yep! Unfortunately, it's business as usual around these parts. One fire after another. A couple of months ago we were watching them drop water on a fire from our bedroom window! It was on our hill!

    sixdegreesphotography - Thanks so much Lynne! Yep, savage and beautiful. I hope no coffee came out of your nose!

  39. These are stunning photos, Pat. There is something quite awesomely beautiful even in the face of such devastation and destruction. I've been obsessed with clouds lately and found two great websites. One is the Cloud Appreciation Society and the other is Atmospheric Optics. Through them I learned that there is a name for these giant fire clouds: pyrocumulus.
    Here's a link other photos

  40. I"m glad the infernos are quieting in your region.

    Something strangely beautiful in the destructive power of fire and other natural forces.

  41. Robin - Thanks Robin! I saw the Atmospheric Optics link in your post and went there yesterday. Amazing stuff! Thanks for giving me this link also. I'll be there in a minute!

    The Geezers - Me too! I agree with you. Nature is amazing...

  42. We've caught some of this deadly beauty on film in past years.

    It almost makes me feel guilty appreciating the source of such devastation.

    But the beauty is so intense and striking.

    Be safe!

  43. I love your creative thinking. ;)

  44. Jenny - I totally understand what you are saying. I feel a bit guilty myself.

    EG CameraGirl - Thanks so much, I appreciate it!

  45. Okay ... I am still laughing about the last photo... residual or not you are right !!

  46. faye - Thanks Faye! I knew I took that stuff for a reason!

  47. OH yeah, I can totally see the faces. Your pictures are beautiful!!

  48. It certainly is scary but makes for some stunning images!

  49. Baby Sister - Creepy, right? Thanks!

    Liz - It was so huge in person. That made it even more scary!

  50. A terrible fire. But yes, it made a sleepy LSD monster too! ;']


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