Dan's Outside

I go, I see, I do, I walk, I think, I like…

Here is Why it is Smoky in the Bay Area

Satellite photograph of Central California showing smoke plume over the San Francisco Bay Area. September 6, 2007.

You can see the plume over the Bay Area, and you can also see that a good part of it is coming from a fire in the Sierra – not just from our local fire. Weather forecasters say that the “finger of fog” coming up the coast from the south may help clear the air of smoke soon.


September 6, 2007 Posted by | Environment | Comments Off on Here is Why it is Smoky in the Bay Area

California Wildfire Blogs

Tom Mangan has recently pointed out two interesting sources of insight and information about California wildfires that I would like to share here:

Thanks to Tom at Two-Heel Drive for sharing the links.

September 6, 2007 Posted by | Commentary | Comments Off on California Wildfire Blogs

From the "What Are They Thinking?" Department

As anyone who is semi-conscious and living in California should know, big chunks of the state are subject to wildfires, especially near the end of summer in September and early October. This is on my mind for several reasons today:

When I got up this morning and walked to the kitchen, the sunlight was streaming in through our east-facing kitchen window. The red sunlight. Make that blood red. The sky is filled with smoke from the Lick fire in Coe Park to the southeast of us.

Today the word is that this huge fire – well over 10,000 acres and still growing – had its origin in “human causes” – now said to be some kind of careless burning at a hunting camp outside the park, perhaps trash burning.

Several years ago at this time of year and in conditions not too different from those of this year (e.g. – the whole state is primed to burn.) I was passed in a grassy area of a local train by a group of equestrians… smoking cigarettes!

This time of year, and this year in particular, it is very important that people take the fire warnings seriously!

September 6, 2007 Posted by | Commentary | Comments Off on From the "What Are They Thinking?" Department

Bear Buffet

Tom Stienstra posts a summary of some interesting Yosemite bear facts for fall:

The summer-to-fall transition has started for black bears in Yosemite National Park and elsewhere in the Sierra Nevada. In a two-month eating frenzy, bears will pack on the pounds to prepare for hibernation. Here’s what’s happening with the bears at Yosemite…

I learned at least one new thing from this article. Apparently the bears – who are trying to eat about 20,000 calories per day right now to prepare for winter – make acorns a big part of their diet during the season. I knew that Yosemite black bears are omnivorous, eating berries, insects, and just about anything else they can get into their mouths, but I had no idea they were interested in acorns.

Another interesting fact from the article: while human/bear conflicts do occur on the part (the occasional car break-in, bears being hit by drivers, etc.) it sounds like the number of incidents this year is quite a bit lower than during some of the record-breaking years in the 1990s.

It has actually been quite awhile since I’ve encountered a bear in Yosemite, though I used to see them with some regularity while backpacking there or while car-camping in Tuolumne Meadows. (I was visited – twice – by a bear earlier this summer while camping at Ediza Lake. No harm done since my food was safely stashed in a canister.)

September 6, 2007 Posted by | Yosemite | Comments Off on Bear Buffet


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