Move to SoCal and you learn a new vocabulary. Some may have made it back east before, especially in films (“Don’t hork it down” or “We mac’ed out on those chips” or any of the billion “dude” quotes), but lots haven’t…until now.
Extreme fire behavior was used by the fire fighters to refer to just how bad the fires were. I think it makes the fires sound like unruly kids rather than a firestorm.
Containment percentage, as in “The fire is only 10% contained,” is the term for the amount of fire edge restricted and controlled by the fire fighters. It is NOT the same as controlling a fire in the fire fighters’ terms. Control means, essentially, putting the fire out. So, a contained fire is in control and a controlled fire is extinguished. Go fig. Here’s an example from one of the recent press releases about the Witch Fire, in the north/northeast part of the county:
The Witch Fire is 197,990 acres and 60% contained. Full containment is expected on October 31st and full control on November 5th.
Santa Anas may have been heard of in the past, but now the debate about their name is better known–some say they are named for the mountains they go through and others say they were the winds of Santana…in English, Satan. I vote for the latter.
The marine layer made national news as the fires receded. That is, essentially, the fog bank that lives off-shore most of the time but moves in when the winds are right.
That leads us to on-shore and off-shore winds. The winds are usually on-shore (from ocean to land) in May and June (May Grey, June Gloom) but not so much in the Fall (the Santa Anas are off-shore winds, meaning they blow from inland out to sea). The famous San Francisco fog is really just the marine layer moving in at night, when the wind shifts to on-shore.
Red Flag Warnings are not some warning about giant cloths attacking. Coming from the land of tornado and severe thunderstorm warnings meaning tornadoes/severe storms were in the area, this one seems oddly named. Red Flag Warnings are issued from the Weather Service when the humidity will be below 20% for 24 hours or more and winds (sustained) at 15+ mph. Oh, and the vegetation needs to be dry already, but it always is here so that’s pretty much assumed. They should be called bone sucking dry warnings, I think, or skin peel alerts or spontaneous combustion warnings. But what do I know.
By the way, the first few days of the fires had humidities at 6-9% and dew points of less than zero. Sustained winds were over 40 in many places, close to hurricane force in some places, and with gusts close to 100.
I feel like a friggin’ raisin still.