We were exiting the beach
parking lot at 3 pm and looked east for the first time all day when we
saw it: a plume of black smoke rising out of Penasquitos, 8 miles
away. The mountain behind our house was on fire.
Driving home from
on Highway 56 we get multiple perspectives on the fire. Thank
goodness they are plowing up all the open spaces, grading it, and
putting houses with fire resistant lawns where chaparral used to grow.
Arriving in Penasquitos
south of the fire, we had perspective that wasn't available from the
west. We now understand where the fire is, and that our house, to the
west of the mountain (out of frame left) is not in apparent danger.
The view from our house.
Sure, our neighborhood wasn't evacuated and
the fire was never moving
our way, but it was just a little over a mile away, and big and scary.
photos and a map
from the San Diego Union-Tribune of the
fire. Our house does not appear in either picture, but I did add
it (in blue on left hand side) to the map.
Some weeks after the fire, I rode my bike around the Black Mountain
Open Space Preserve and took the following pictures from "inside" the
The roads that are bike
paths meander all around the Black Mountain Open Space Preserve.
Here the unburnt section I am on leads directly to a denuded hillside.
Moonscape from heart of the
Things long hidden in the
chaparral were revealed, as long as they themselves were not
combustible, like these two internal combustion engines.
In addition to the trails
criss-crossing the burt area, they were also obviously used for fire
breaks. Note the trail in the upper right hand corner is burnt to
its right (camera left). I conclude this path that I now bike on
at the summit of this little ridge was pressed into service as a
defensible fire break.
The fire started behind
the high school (Mt Carmel, not the high school the boys will be
attending). This then would be near the start of the fire, looking back
towards the football field.