by Paul Bates (modified: 2007 Aug 16)

The Zaca Fire is still raging here only 20 miles aways from Eiffel Software's office in Santa Barbara. It's quite amazing. They had recently opened up some roads that head up out into the mountains so I suggested to my girlfriend, Dia, we go take a look.

We managed for forage quite far by road passing scores of fire and police trucks returning, that is until being headed off by an unmanned road block. We saw another guy just drive around it and disappear around the corner. I thought the same thought but then assumed that he might have actually been fire personnel so decided not to risk it. 60 seconds later the guy reappears driving back. I guess there's a more formidable roadblock further along.

As close as we could get.

This morning I had to drive Dia to the train station for her flight later today, at 6am. We awoke to dust red skies seeped over the mountain as they do in the rains of winter, bathing the streets and house in an orange hue. Today was to be not much different from the pass couple of week, my car covered in ash. The ash has gotten every where even in my apartment.

Covered in ash. Note my Terra Pass in the window ;)

Today is probably the worse day so far for air quality. With all the ash floating around it's hard not to breathe it in. It's only 8am and already I feel my throat is full of ash. It makes you wonder if we'll actually have to start wearing masks soon, if the containment doesn't improve.

In my shy of 6 years here in Santa Barbara we've had numerous wild fires. Not to long ago was the Gaviota fire that closed the 101 freeway and then a year prior to that was the Lake Piru fire. This is the worst I've seen yet.

In all the chaos and destruction there comes serene beauty. This morning I strolled out of my apartment to see the sun hanging low in the sky, saturated a blood red. It was no sun I'd ever seen before. I tried to take a number of photos but alas the wide-angle nature or my compact couldn't capture the size, and the limited manual controls couldn't bring out the vibrant red. It feels like I'm on set for some post-apocalyptic movie.

I took a snap as I got to work. Here the smoke diffused the sun making it a easier to take a shot showing the color.

Red sun at Eiffel Software this morning.

These plumes have become a common sight over the past couple of weeks.