Friday, September 4, 2009

Still Burning

Our Govenator finds something interesting in the debris
I've been walking with Ron again. Sometimes as late as nine o'clock at night, last Tuesday as it had taken him three hours to get back from the Crenshaw mall to pay his cable bill and put some time onto his cell phone (for some reason only known to Ron, he refuses to pay it at any of the nearby check cashing facilities, or over the Internet, as I do. I believe it's a matter of trust. He doesn't trust the check cashing facilities to actually pay the bill, and I know he doesn't trust the Internet).
And while walking with my friend Ron at night we noticed the moon as it was nearly full and a different color than it should be. Normally the moon seen from downtown Los Angeles while full is colored a chalky white with mottled gray markings splotched here and there. Last Tuesday and Wednesday night the moon was orange.
"Smoky," I told him.
"Yeah, it is."
"Smoke is the collection of airborne solid and liquid particulates and gases emitted when a material undergoes combustion or pyrolysis, together with the quantity of air that is entrained or otherwise mixed into the mass" (Wikipedia).
Due to the huge fires that continue burning north of the city the local atmosphere has been filled with large amounts of smoke, which forms as a layer which was between me and Ron, and the moon, shading our natural satellite a misty orange. As interesting as it may be to have an orange moon in the sky to look at, I would prefer it at its natural hue, which would mean that the fires were now extinguished, and that besides the normal amount of nitrogen oxides, tropospheric ozone, volatile organic compounds, peroxyacyl nitrates, and aldehydes that we take into our poor lungs on a daily basis here in L.A., we wouldn't have to contend to vast quantities of smoke as well.
Indeed, the introduction of these noxious vapors has affected me and my fellow yoga enthusiasts at our weekly class. My esteemed yoga teacher, Beth, has toned down the more strenuous forms of exercise and positions, due to the "smoky atmosphere," putting into place more meditative yoga practices that do not require a great deal of physical activity, which is fine by me.
Still, I would rather have the fire out, and have to face a more "challenging," yoga session, than not.
The fires have now been determined to have been intentionally set, making it an open case of arson, and because of the two deaths of firefighters that have occurred while attempting to fight this fire, so far, there is an open case of homicide as well.
The eleven day old blaze (now know as the Station Fire. I don't know why) has burned over 148, 258 acres (232 square miles) of the Angeles National Forest, making it as big as two fifths the size of Los Angeles itself, and the largest fire in the county's history. At least 60 homes have now been destroyed.
This fire is unusual in the respect that it has spread so quickly without the support of our infamous Santa Ana winds, which are the usual suspects in our typical brushfire season. They'll most likely begin next month, making this season looking particularly onus. With the county encompassing over 4,000 square miles of mountains, alluvial valleys, coastal plains, and high desert, and 553, 789 acres of chaparral, there's just so much to burn.
Fortunately progress has been made. Officials state that the fire is now 42% surrounded, with the flames dying down today.
Mount Wilson, with its attendant observatory and television, radio, and cell phone antennas has been spared, which was very good news for my lovely case manager, Erin, who spends 32.7% of her time on this planet texting far off friends and family (I made the innocent mistake of taking her blackberry, Iphone, or whatever it is she has constantly be her side at Movie Day last week (Rodney insisted in showing the Ridley Scott film, "Kingdom of Heaven") placing it out of her reach as she was fiddling with it all through the film. She actually began to go into convulsions, and hasn't forgiven me since).
Now I've been trained by professionals to fight fires while in the navy. It is extremely important to put out fires while on a ship that is at sea, mainly because they are harmful to human beings generally, and if the ship burns down there is no where else to go, and you better be up on your swimming skills (and shark fighting skills). And I've helped with our brushfires before, back in 1993 when still with the Salvation Army (we gave out food to the firemen). Accordingly I've considered volunteering to help with the current blaze.
Then I thought better of it. All that smoke and yoga has made me a bit queasy.
1,200 to 1,500 firefighters assembled before dawn this morning to pay tribute to Capt. Ted Hall and fireman Arnie Quinones who both died Sunday afternoon when their vehicle went over the side of a steep mountain road. May they rest in peace.

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