smoked out

Theoretically we were at 98% of totality for the eclipse. The sun should have come up in a notch created by the canyon where we live. We even scouted out a nearby location on a mountain top in case there was low lying fog (common during mornings so close to the coast).


Heading out Sunday night Aug 20th close to 4pm, we were greeted by this plume of smoke as we headed into the hills. This wasn’t at all unexpected since the fire has been burning and spreading since July 12th.


From a nearby peak we could see the smoke covering the mountains to the south.


We watched as the fire spread closer in our direction. There was a major fire back in 2002 in some of the current burn. The bare trees seen just under the smoke layer are likely dead ‘snags’ left from the 2002 Biscuit fire.


We watched as the plumes of smoke spread and grew.


Looking back toward the ocean, the smoke seemed to dissipate as it headed out to sea


and the colors turned more ominous as it got closer to sunset.


An eerie sunset looking west.


The next morning, heading out well before the eclipse, there was a thick haze as an inversion apparently pushed all that smoke lower to the ground.


Near the start of the eclipse, I took a chance with the above shot even though the advice is not to shoot straight into the sun. It shows the spooky light from all the smoke rather than the eclipse.


We had the eclipse glasses and I checked on the progress of the eclipse periodically, but there were no weird shadows that I could find. A bit of a disappointment in general. I turned to shooting other entities as suggested by the many eclipse sites.


This shot does seem to suggest that the scene turned darker near the time of totality.


It gradually lightened up on our way back down the mountain. So far we’ve been lucky. The quarter acre of fire that was first discovered has spread to over 90,000 acres, but unless there’s a radical shift in the wind it doesn’t appear to be heading in our direction.

Chetco Bar fire now top priority in the country (see OPB article)

The world is indeed full of peril, and in it there are many dark places; but still there is much that is fair, and though in all lands love is now mingled with grief, it grows perhaps the greater.
― J.R.R. TolkienThe Fellowship of the Ring




18 thoughts on “smoked out

  1. Sorry to see the smoke hanging over the landscape Gunta, (it does make for some rather fine landscapes) that said, fire is part of the natural process of things in the forest. I hope that this was a natural occurrence and not a man made one. I’m probably clinging onto a slim hope with that one.
    I experienced similar to you with an eclipse here in the UK in 1999. It is indeed a surreal experience.


    • This was a natural occurrence. The initial fire was lightning caused and started in a designated Wilderness area. But then the politics begin. The Forest Service has a policy to let fires burn (but watch and control) that are naturally caused and don’t threaten “valuable resources”. Someone goofed at some point when the fire got away from them one evening. It suddenly started doubling daily until it’s roughly 100,000 acres in size and has burned 4 homes (last I heard). There is always this competing point of view between loggers-who want to go in and clear cut -literally mow down every tree in sight and environmentalists who want to see these wild areas protected. This area is recognized as particularly important for its biodiversity.

      Funny how this Wilderness area was expanded near the end of Obama’s term. Since the current administration wants to undo all that was done by Obama, this expansion (or the entire wilderness area) is on the top of a “hit list” wanting to take it off the wilderness designation so that roads can be built and loggers can go in and cut down all the trees. I can’t help but suspect that perhaps the tendency to let it burn might be a way to make it more acceptable to open it all up for commercial logging, mining and other “private” enterprises. Same sort of thing happened during the Bush Jr reign. Sad.


  2. Your other entity is a seriously fetching one! They way he’s poised on that thistle – and the way the colors harmonize – I love it. I’m sorry it was a disappointment but of course, bigger issues are at work here, and let’s hope containment happens. I also hope the smoke stays away, and you can get down to the ocean and just listen to that surf….


    • “Seriously fetching”! I like that! 😀 Eric was the one to discover a whole bunch of grasshoppers hanging out in the thistles. I suspect the fire will keep going until the rains come, but it seems to be staying within the wilderness area. That’s not a good thing, but it could be worse if homes were burning. A trip to the beach sounds pretty good right about now.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. We had clouds here, but not the promised thunderstorm. We stood around with our funny glasses but it really didn’t get all that dark. It saddens me to hear of trees dying from drought and beetle out along the coast. Do the fires bring regeneration?


    • Since we were supposed to be at 98% I expected it to get quite a bit darker, but the smoke was already dimming everything around us, so… Not sure about fires regenerating most of our trees. I do know that it takes fire to open up the seeds from the redwoods and I think there are others that need the heat, but I don’t think that’s the case here.


    • They can’t be happy memories I’m sure! Our fire is a bit worrisome, but unless there’s a major shift in the wind, we should be OK. Most of the burn is in designated Wilderness, so the river and the salmon, etc will get the worst of it.


  4. So sorry about the smokey conditions down your way! We dealt with that up here a few weeks back. So glad our wind direction changed back to normal and blew it all away. Those are some awesome photos you took of the smoke plumes. I certainly hope the fire doesn’t come much closer to you.


    • Thanks, Peggy. So far we’ve been very lucky because the fire is a bit close for comfort, but seems to be heading away from us. Fingers crossed it stays that way.


  5. An eerie but beautiful shot of the sunset ~ and of 98% totality (same we had in Pendleton). I loved the feeling your shots showed, and I felt the eclipse today was a bit surreal…not darkness, but a dimness and chill that was so cool to experience. I hope your week of dealing with the smoke and encroaching fire has not been too worrisome! Cheers to a good week!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think surreal sums it up nicely. We’ve had some extra heat lately and suddenly it’s turned quite cold. If nothing else, it helps the fire fighting. So far, the smoke and fire haven’t headed in our direction. It’s mostly threatening Brookings for now. Much of the area that’s burning is Wilderness. Such a shame to see it going up in smoke.


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