As if 2020 wasn't gloomy enough... the sky was orange all day Wednesday, in San Jose and the bay area, from all the smoke caused by wildfires. I found a satellite image and saw there was smoke all along the coast from southern California all the way up to Oregon and making it's way over the Pacific Ocean. There was a lot of ash coming down so I stayed indoors all day with the windows closed.
Today I posted my last SCU & CZU lightning complex fire updates on Instagram. I'd been making animated gifs from screenshots of the affected area, using Google Maps, since I became aware of the fire on Mount Hamilton almost two weeks ago. I started making animations for the SCU and CZU affected areas and evacuation maps a few days later. Luckily, after a couple days, the fire stopped moving closer to our home and after a couple weeks the evacuations areas nearby were lifted or reduced. The SCU Fire containment is currently at 60%, compared to 5% 13 days ago. I feel like I can finally stop worrying about the fire coming closer and evacuating as long as we don't get more of the high temperatures, dry weather and lighting storms that caused these fires. I'll still keep an eye on things but start unpacking my go-bag & stuff. I should put together a proper kit to have ready for future emergencies incase these wildfires start becoming a regular thing.
I've just been doing the things I'd put off all week while on wildfire alert. I drew this a few nights ago when there was a higher possibility of evacuating. I am so glad this wasn't me though I still have my go-bag, and other items, ready to go.
It really sucks that while we're over here in California avoiding wildfires there was another incident of a police officer shooting of an unarmed black man caught on camera. This time it was Jacob Blake in Kenosha, WI. He was shot 7 times in the back but didn't die though he might not walk again. The shooting naturally led to protests in Kenosha then some piece-of-shit 17 year kid from out of state, openly carrying a rifle, who was protecting a car dealership, goes off and kills two protesters and injures another. After that he walks right past the police with his hands up and weapon around his neck and the police let him walk right past them. He wasn't arrested on site, instead he was arrested at his home 20 miles away. Yes, there is a lot of nuance to both sides but those are the biggest take aways. The Kenosha police shot an unarmed black person in the back and days later let a white teenager armed with a rifle, who just shot people, walk right past them. All of it caught on camera. What a fucking mess.
Today I felt like I could stop worrying about the fire coming down the hill and possibly having to evacuate. The weather was nice and the air quality wasn't terrible so I went and walked two laps at Lake Cunningham. This was my first time going out after being locked indoors with the windows closed, and glued to the computer, for the last 7 days days. It felt good to not worry about the fire but I still feel bad for those who were forced to evacuate and even more so for those who lost their homes. I wish we could fast forward past the wildfires, covid-19, racial injustice, police brutality and everything else that's made 2020 the biggest shit-show in my lifetime.
A few evacuation areas from the SCU Fire were reduced from an Order down to Warnings and there also some parts that were marked green for Re-entry.
Today I made a screen recording of how to view the SCU Lightning Complex affected areas and evacuation maps after a couple friends on Instagram mentioned how the maps I've been uploading have been helpful. Processing all the information about these fires has been confusing so I'm happy to share what I've learned. At night I made eggplant parmesan after the temperature cooled down and the air cleared up enough to open windows and fire up the oven. This recipe skips breading & frying the eggplant, to cut back on calories, but is still delicious. I'm having leftovers for breakfast, lunch & dinner tomorrow.
I read an article posted on Facebook that it made it sound like my neighborhood was being warned to evacuate that got me worried and confused because there were no official evacuation orders or warnings given, from Cal Fire, for my neighborhood.
San Jose officials urged residents on the eastern edge of the city—particularly in the Alum Rock, Berryessa and Evergreen neighborhoods, as well as areas to the south of Evergreen—to “have your bags packed and ready to go.”
I then watched a fire update from the mayor of San Jose and the fire chief. About 10 minutes into the video the mayor says there are no evacuations within the city limits of San Jose. It made me feel a little bit at ease but I still was worried and checking for updates all day long.
The SCU Lightning Complex Fire continues to spread but luckily hasn't moved closer to my home since Wednesday afternoon. Today I pulled away from constantly checking online for updates to work on a design job that's been on hold since the fire started. I'm really liking how it's turning out so far and I can't wait to finish it.
The two affected areas of the SCU Lightning Complex fire have merged. Thankfully it hasn't moved south-east, where I live, but I'm constantly keeping an eye on the this map, the Cal Fire website and evacuation order & warnings page incase we gotta go. Besides refreshing the same 3 websites, I did a wellness check on an old friend, as a favor for his sister who hasn't heard from him in a while. He was home, and alive, so I asked him to please call his sister. I also heard that the flames were visible coming over the mountain top so I drove around and across town to see for myself but I never saw any flames.
What a crazy day! The SCU Complex Fire is still burning over the east hills while the air down here is smoky and unhealthy to breath. I only slept a few hours this morning and I've been checking the map of affected areas and updates on evacuations orders and warnings all day. The fire closest to where I live (yellow marker on the left) hasn't moved closer but it's spreading in all other directions. It looks like it'll soon join the bigger fire to the east. This fire (SCU) is only 5% contained and part of many other fires currently burning in California. What a fucking mess we're in.
I made the animated gif below using 5 screenshots taken over a 20 hour period.
The lightning storm on Sunday morning caused some fires in the bay area. I didn't realize how close they were, or had gotten till, a few hours ago when my friend posted a picture of the glow from the fire on Mt Hamilton. She said her parents, and other residents who live up there, were being evacuated and she was waiting for them at the bottom of the hill. I drove around after hearing about it and was able to see the glow. I'm back home now but don't know if I'll be going to sleep tonight.