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Another Fire

Leni

Active member
Well we have another one. It started a few days ago near Santa Barbara which is north of me. It's burning in an area that hasn't burned in 70 years. 4,000 acres as of yesterday. The big problem is drought, 'dangerously' high temperatures starting today, and winds that are called Sundowners. It may go as high as 120 in some places. Sundowners are off shore winds that start up as the sun goes now. It's going to be very hard on the firemen.
 

EastTexFrank

Well-known member
GOLD Site Supporter
I was reading about that one yesterday. There's a lot of expensive property to burn up that way and from the reports, it could get really bad.

Sundowners, so that's what you guys call them. When I was a kid in Scotland, you could go down to the beach or the cliffs and watch the fog bank sitting several miles offshore. During the day the wind blew from the land out to sea and held the fog bank offshore. When the sun started to set, the wind dropped and then reversed direction. You could watch that fog start to come rolling in.
 

Leni

Active member
Lots of million dollar plus homes up there along with old established families. No matter the value it is still home. So far I'm not aware of any homes lost or injuries. The Sundowners blow from the land out to sea.

We are getting the smoke here in LA county and Orange county. That's a very long distance. I'll bet that they can see the smoke from space. Since I have moderate asthma it doesn't help my breathing. At least so far I'm not seeing any ashes on my car or the ground.
 

deand1

Bronze Member
GOLD Site Supporter
I have been on a several fires in SB county and I can attest. The wind blows off the ocean all day, and in the evening, as the weather man predicts, the wind suddenly shifts and blows down to the sea. This is a very dry wind. The smoke and fire lay right down on the deck and will burn right down through the sea weed on the beach. You are very cautious if you have to get in front of it, until it stabilizes in the early morning hours.
 

Leni

Active member
Sort of. Sundowners are a daily thing. Santa Ana's blow for less than a week and then go away. They are also very strong and a dry heat.
 

deand1

Bronze Member
GOLD Site Supporter
Sundowners... Like Santa Ana's?

Similar, but not the same. Sundowners are very local to a region with an ocean on one side and a high mountain range on the other (think Santa Barbara, CA). Behind the mountain range there needs to be a dry desert region for the temepature differential to develop between the cool moist ocean air and the hot dry desert air. The hot air comes over the mountain and gains speed and heating by compression as it slides towards the sea.

These winds only happen in the evening and late night when all conditions are correct. Weather specialist are great at seeing these conditions developing and give us a good lead time.

Another location where Sundowners develop is Lake Elsinore CA. In the early 60's a complete Hot Shot crew were overran by fire coming off the mountain in Lake Elsinore. A lot of burned folks as a result. This was before the condition was known and identified in training.

Santa Ana winds are a result of a deep low pressure off the coast, and a high pressure dome over the 4 corner states (UT, CO, AZ, NM) The pressure gradients have to be very steep between the low pressure and the high pressure. Most often that condition happens in the fall to winter. Same thing happens though, winds slide down off the mountains and gains speed and compression heating as it moves towards the coast. As said, this will be continuously for a week or less. No relief with night time, winds actually gain speed after dark.

HTH
 

Leni

Active member
Great explanation deand1! We hate those Santa Ana's. Dries everything out and with this drought it makes it much worse. We did have a couple earlier this year.
 
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