So we’re getting a bit more rain yesterday & today: Santa Rosa itself may reach the magic inch of rainfall before today is out. Thus, I’ve decided it may be safe for me to post these remaining photos I took in the days and weeks after the Glass Fire exploded into Santa Rosa over the Mayacamas Mountains. (Safe, in the sense that it’s less likely yet another fire will explode over the mountains. Though one really never knows, these days…) Somewhere in each of these photos you can see the burned ridges and eastern slopes of the range that separates us from Napa county, the view I see from my home, from my bike rides and hikes around most of this central part of the county. Most of it’s what I called twiced-burned, in a post not long ago.
I’ve recently been on many a hike, alone or with friends, where I know how to detect the marks from the Nuns and Tubbs fires three years ago. Things can grow back, so long as there’s time and enough rain to regrow. This landscape and ecosystem evolved with fire, but it did that evolving before our human pollution started tipping the balance and changing the atmosphere so very much. I wonder how much of this beauty our current childrens’ great-grandchildren will be able to see still. I wonder how many of our fellow citizens actually even care to ask themselves these questions and consider changing their habits and patterns to help preserve more for our future generations.
The mountain ridge between Sonoma and Napa counties is part of the Mayacamas, one of the many ranges of coastal mountains that run roughly north-south around here. Santa Rosa sits mostly in a plain, with mountains on more or less three sides. Much of the mountain area is parkland – county, state and local parks where we hike, bike, camp and run. Major parts of Hood Mountain Regional Park, as well as Sugarloaf Ridge State Park with which it shares the mountains you see in all the photos above and below, have now been burned twice in three years — first in the Tubbs Fire (started October 8, 2017), and again this year in the Glass Fire (started September 27). CalFire’s website says February 9, 2018 was the final-containment date of the Tubbs, which burned 36,807 acres. For now, the same site says the Glass is 97% contained and has burned 67,484 acres. The state and county parks on the southern side of that valley (Spring Lake regional park and Annadel State Park) reopened last week, so I was able to get out and see how things look now. I’m overcoming reluctance to post these, so that folks can see the beauty and the destruction we’re living with now. Reluctance, because we don’t know when our first real rains will come and bring an end to this awful fire season. Reluctance, because even as I write this there is yet another red-flag warning from the weather service because of high winds expected in the mountain areas. But I do want to share, so here goes… We do love our parks and hope that some rain, and perhaps evidence-based acknowledgment of what we need to do to reduce the rapidly-accelerating pace of global warming, will help even our grandchildren and great-grandchildren enjoy them. The alternatives really do seem rather bleak.
I was home for a short holiday in November, after a remarkably wet October. Those early generous rains brought stronger autumn color in the trees than I have yet seen in Sonoma County. The rivers were a bit more robust than usual for early November, the hills of my favorite parks a bit greener…and some of the bike paths already muddy. I delighted in the freedom to hop on my bike & find all the red-leaved trees and beautiful views I could find. I also took time to enjoy the contrast of white lichen with brown, fallen leaf. Here are some photos from those outings. I’m taking pleasure in beauty these days- the slant of a ray of light through a window, the curve of a kid’s smile as he bikes through downtown Port au Prince (yes, I saw this the other day!). It seems a good time to remember and appreciate the blessings in my life, which certainly include all my wonderful friends and readers, known and unknown, around the world. Have a lovely end of year holiday season :-).