“So mellow the gentle breath of June day breeze
The birds rejoicing on the leafy trees…
Above her nest cloaked by the tangled heath
Her charming song so exquisitely sweet.”
- Francis Duggan, Irish poet
Last weekend, the outside thermometer reached 106 degrees. There’s no denying summer’s onset. Inside was a cool 76 degrees, as the AC was turned on – the first time since fall. Our surrender to comfort will be documented on our next SCE bill! Weather changes sometimes slowly, but often very abruptly, as one season transitions to the next. Mother Nature reacts accordingly. Two vastly different scenarios presented as she turned on the heat – one of devastation, the other of new life.
Where’s the fire? Saturday afternoon, smoke overtook the Crescenta Valley. Instinct dictates to locating the source. Having a firefighter in the family gives advantage of learning the early details – a small pay off, as families see their loved ones leave. Exciting and scary, both. Soon, it was made evident – the fire wasn’t in our local mountains, but 40 miles away in Calabasas. Apparently the wind blew from the southwest, making for our smoky skies.
“The Old Fire” – the fire’s given name – spread quickly in the rugged terrain of the Santa Monica Mountains. Firefighters aided by a cool marine layer had the fire mostly contained within a day. Some 5,000 residents and their pets evacuated their homes and, as last calculated, 516 acres were burned. Two homes received minor damage; thankfully, no lives were lost. “Fire season.” As the summer heat settles in and the already drought-stricken vegetation becomes even drier, more of the same can be expected. The biggest danger comes in the fall. Santa Ana winds cause the mercury to rise and the humidity to drop – fire weather. If fire ignites, it spreads quickly as the winds make for erratic fire behavior. It was noted in Calabasas; homeowners were diligent about brush removal around their property. These homes were spared.
We have an addition to our home – an aviary. A pair of skilled and very cute House Finches built their home (nest) under an eve, atop an outdoor speaker. Tweets were sent and friends soon followed. Shortly, the aviary included six nests. Warm weather aids incubation, and the flock thrives. As fledglings spread their wings and leave home, close watch must be kept. The babies are not completely airworthy at first, so the parents continue to feed them. Excited by all the activity, we keep watch over Abby, the over-eager golden retriever.
As sharks swim close to shore and a bear swims in a local pool, I conclude.
The weather? Alternating days of warm and June gloom mark the almost-summer forecast. Seize the cool days.
Sue Kilpatrick is a
Crescenta Valley resident and
Official Skywarn Spotter for the
National Weather Service. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.