Smoke Cuts San Gabriel Mountains in Two.

The wind’s changed, the weather’s cooled off, and firefighters are starting to get the Station Fire under control. For the first time in days, we’ve been able to see the San Gabriel Mountains.

The eastern part of the range was clearly visible this afternoon — more visible than it usually is during the summer, with LA’s famous smog. The middle was completely shrouded in smoke. Interestingly, while it looks like the plume is being blown east, visibility seems to be worse toward the western end. Maybe wind near the ground is blowing west, and wind higher up is blowing east?

Compare to this shot of the mountains covered in snow last December:

San Gabriel Snow Panorama

  • Mt Wilson still intact for now! Status, Towercam. #
  • Image from Mt. Wilson Observatory Towercam at 12:06 pm. Observatory website still up, but towercam very slow. #

    towercam-smoke-1206

  • Mt. Wilson Towercam showing lots of smoke: 12:21 was the last image I could get. #

    towercam-smoke-1221

  • Definitely cooler today, but humidity & smoke since the wind changed make it feel worse outside. #
  • Mt. Wilson good news: smoke on towercam was from backfires. Bad: website offline, cam not updating. Status on backup server. #
  • Los Angeles Fires Seen From Space (from @ecolady via @ThisIsTrue) #

    la-fires-from-space

Images from the Mt. Wilson Observatory Towercam & NASA. You can probably figure out which is which.

About 2:00 in the afternoon today, in a park in the Quail Hill area of Irvine. Roughly 50 miles away from the fire, perpendicular to the wind (thankfully!)

That puffy plume looks a lot whiter than the rest, which is clearly smoke, making me wonder if it’s a cloud that’s formed above the fire somehow. Edit: And literally seconds after I post this I spot the term pyrocumulous in another window. So, yeah, it’s a cloud produced by the air heated by the fire. The Wikipedia article has a picture of a cloud produced by this same fire a few days ago.