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The smell of smoke in the air tonight as we traveled to Dublin, California reminded me that I wanted to pass along this link to current fire information (for major fires) in the state. (Update June 30, 2008: The interactive map is now HERE, at least temporarily.) The smoke was from a grass fire, in the area of Eden Canyon, which had been sparked by an automobile accident on I-580 eastbound, between Castro Valley and Pleasanton. The normally bad commute traffic became even worse.

Just like earthquakes (1, 2), fires are part of the natural rhythm of California. The drought that we are currently experiencing (in stark contrast to the heavy rains falling in the Mid-West) means that low humidities and high winds can be very dangerous. The National Weather Service has this page for current Watches, Warnings, and Advisories in California, including red flag warnings “that conditions are ideal for wildland fire ignition and propagation.” The page also appears to be available as an RSS feed.

Shortly after California’s governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, declared a statewide drought, a number of fires have occurred in the state. One evening, there were 9 fires in the news. We are already off to a busy fire season, and the increased costs of fuels mean that fires will be more expensive to fight.

(Update June 22, 2008: At 10 PM Pacific time, KTVU News reported that there were currently 623 wildfires burning in California, including one near Brisbane, on the Peninsula. Traffic was congested on Highway 101 near the San Francisco International Airport (SFO) as the result of drivers pulling over to watch the smoke. :-(  . There were reportedly 4000-5000 lightning strikes in a 24-hour period that were responsible for igniting many of the fires around the state, particularly in Northern California.)

-Bill at Cheshire Cat Photo™

You can view higher-resolution photos (*generally* 7-30 megabytes, compressed) at the Cheshire Cat Photo™ Pro Gallery on Shutterfly™, where you can also order prints and gifts decorated with the photos of your choice from the gallery. Apparel and other gifts decorated with some of our most popular photos can be ordered from the Cheshire Cat Photo™ Store on CafePress®. Both Shutterfly™ and CafePress® ship to most international locations worldwide!

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