Three Fires

Three Fires title=
Three Fires
18 Comments
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By John Wiley

It looks like another long hot Summer ahead, with three wildfires already. We saw each of them yesterday flying back from Lompoc. Not having heard about the Windmill Fire NW of Buellton it was a surprise to see a new fire there with air tankers and ground crews hard at work. The nearby Las Cruces Fire still had plenty of crews working, and some quickly went to help on the new fire. In the hills above Goleta clouds beyond the mountains cast the Holiday Fire burn area in an ominous light.

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a-1540202429 Jul 23, 2018 08:11 AM
Three Fires

"Be vigilant against hillside users trying to weed wack with steel discs (Jesusita) have an overnight bonfire (Tea) or play with matches (Gap) during upcoming sundowners." Sheriff direct is 805-683-2724, because 911 is routed through Ventura.

My2Cents Jul 22, 2018 10:30 AM
Three Fires

John, I read daily but rarely comment, however a HUGE THANK YOU is order for all of your amazing photos and down-to-earth (no pun intended), no-nonsense, no drama reporting that accompanies them. I’m sure there are many others, like me, that do not chime in often, but you deserve accolades for offering us a much clearer view of local goings on than we can get anywhere else. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!

Bird Jul 21, 2018 09:21 PM
Three Fires

I, too, appreciate your photos and your comments on them! I have a question: often in the summer and this afternoon, particularly, there are large thunderheads rising behind the mountains. I am not sure where they are, Jameson? but I've always wondered about them. Are they in fact "thunderheads", that is, with lightening/thunder and even rain, as would be so in the east or, if not (and I'd guess, not) what causes them to rise there? I've wondered when there are a lot, if they're aligned with the Santa Ynez River. Thanks for any answers but, anyway, thanks so much for your photos!

a-1540202429 Jul 22, 2018 06:54 AM
Three Fires

Wherever they start or end up, they _are_ cumulonimbus. So beautiful.

mtndriver Jul 22, 2018 03:12 AM
Three Fires

I've also wondered about those for years! They look so close....

a-1540202429 Jul 21, 2018 11:58 PM
Three Fires

Really? I feel like a fool. Our house faces the mountains, so of course we always thought the "thunderheads" we saw were from the valley! For 50 years. lol. So some must be. We just enjoyed watching them. Hope we all saw the stunning and bright half-moon and more tonight; it will be even more striking every night.

John Wiley Jul 21, 2018 10:06 PM
Three Fires

The clouds that look as if they're over our Santa Ynez range seem to seldom be closer than the San Rafael range or even Sierra Madre. From the air, the ones in this pic seemed to be over the Sierra Madre. Someone here with more knowledge of storm dynamics may reply, or you could find a wiki. Sometimes they're probably begun by uplift from wind blowing over the mountains, but my guess is most start with thermal uplift. I've read that a major source of that other than dark ground heated by the sun, is heated slopes that create a chimney effect that may culminate in a thunderstorm. Needless to say, we fly well away from towering clouds like those.

Bird Jul 21, 2018 09:22 PM
Three Fires

And PS, what is your new camera? Your pictures are very sharp!

MissBleu Jul 21, 2018 02:55 PM
Three Fires

We too appreciate your awesome aerial photos and updates. A TSUNAMI THANKS John Wiley!

taz Jul 21, 2018 12:56 PM
Three Fires

I looked at the AMAZING PHOTO you posted on SBitZ.net of the phoschek drop at the Windmill Fire. How amazing you happened upon the fire - from many miles away as you stated. The attack airplane in front of the phoschek is perfect!!

a-1540202429 Jul 21, 2018 12:04 PM
Three Fires

What was it like flying past the Windmill Fire with the tankers & other choppers in the area dropping the Foscheck & water? Do you have to monitor a special radio frequency or fly at an extra high altitude? It seems like it would really keep you on your toes up there. Thanks for the answers.

John Wiley Jul 21, 2018 12:23 PM
Three Fires

ATC told us about the fire before ending their tracking ("flight following") of our flight. But we'd already noticed the smoke and turned to avoid going within five nautical miles ("nm") even though the FAA had not yet posted a Temporary Flight Restriction ("TFR") over the fire (those are typically 5nm radius and 3-4,000 feet vertically over the active fire). We were mostly about 6nm away and flying at or above 6,000 feet, also taking care to avoid the flight tracks of aircraft reloading with water/PhosChek and/or fuel. Also avoiding the smoke! As to your other question, yes it adds to the things we're keeping aware of in flight, and increases our admiration of the pilots attacking the fire. We don't monitor their frequency, but do have "ADSB" receivers that show where the aircraft are in relation to us. Aviation technology has advanced by giant leaps in recent years, further improving the already excellent safety record. That trend seems to still be accelerating, while new tech is also getting cheaper so that frugal fliers like us can more easily afford it. Exciting era for aviation. :)

TWOSCOOPS Jul 21, 2018 11:01 AM
Three Fires

John Wiley, when you are flying so near a wildfire, such as this Buellton fire, can you feel the radiant heat in your airplane? Nice photos, thanks for sharing them with us.

John Wiley Jul 21, 2018 12:11 PM
Three Fires

Flying so near a wildfire we could feel the heat, we'd probably be feeling some heat from the FAA too. Those helo and fixed wing firefighters surely feel the fire's heat, and associated turbulence along with other factors. Because we don't fly within five miles horizontally and a mile vertically of active fires, we've never felt the heat. As I wrote in the SBitZ post ( http://SBitZ.NET ) with more and different pix of the fire(s), that one of the jet dropping PhosChek was from about 7 miles away with our amazing new camera. Sometimes we've smelled the smoke, as on our recent Big Adventure to Alberta ( http://ja4u.net ). We avoid that too when possible, but as on that trip we sometimes smell it many miles away. As I recall, on that trip we smelled the fires near Redding when two miles up on the North side of Mt. Lassen. Multiple massive wildfires are the new normal it seems. :(

Flicka Jul 21, 2018 10:46 AM
Three Fires

Pretty soon all the hills will have burned, leaving no fuel for the immediate future of fires. Thanks for the photos.

a-1540202429 Jul 21, 2018 11:36 PM
Three Fires

Encourage you to keep sharing?! You're the best at photos and often at info! I've been to the sbitz or whatever it is, thank goodness for it. You should be given reporter status here, your info is crucial. Like a ham radio person, but after the fact, and often during. Thanks John.

John Wiley Jul 21, 2018 11:59 AM
Three Fires

Thanks for letting me know you enjoy the pix too, Flicka. Helps encourage me to keep sharing the amazing stuff we routinely see from the air here in paradise. :) Like you, I've also wondered if we'd be safe from wildfires after it all burns. But looking at our hills it's clear that with conditions now so hot and dry, even without sundowners we're at risk. Only a year or two with below normal rainfall has promoted enough regrowth to create some fire danger in recent burn areas. :(

Curmudgeon Jul 21, 2018 11:59 AM
Three Fires

A relief to know that then we need only be vigilant for flood/mud and earthquake here in "paradise." Might then become "Paradise Lost."

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