I was on our north patio late afternoon/early evening in later July and was admiring borderline-storm-clouds over the Book Cliffs. The Cliffs are the natural northern border of the valley our town (and environs) are located in. I saw a very visible lightning strike (see smoke funnel, below) and told myself that, due to enduring and extremely dry conditions, it’d be a miracle if that didn’t cause a fire. The very next morning there was, no surprise, a column of smoke rising from the very location I had noted the evening before.
People living further west (Fruita/Loma area) have shown photos of actual visible flames from their homes. This shot of fire-light reflected off the clouds is one of two evenings we’ve, uh, “enjoyed” that view. One night while watching T.V. we could concurrently watch both the tube and the red glow north of town.
The two not-so-scenic photos below are meant to demonstrate that the smoke has gotten so that the visibility from our house is severely curtailed. The upper one is the view to the north, visibility a bit more than a half-mile, whereas on a clear day we can see the Book Cliffs clearly (12 or so miles away) with a ridge beyond that also visible. The lower picture is to the east, towards the Grand Mesa, the edge of which averages 20+ miles away — and, yes, we can usually see the Mesa clearly. This picture shows that, as with the other one, our “horizon” is about one-half mile.
Below — I went up and south of town a few days back thinking that with elevation and sufficient distance, I’d get out of the smoke. The upper shot is of a very hazy Unaweep Canyon. The spectacular granite cliffs (many hundreds of feet high) are ordinarily quite dramatic from this overlook. It was as if there was smoke from a fire right in the Canyon. When I got home I checked the usual “forest fire” sites on the internet to check if there wasn’t a more “local culprit” fire on or near the Utah state line — no, there wasn’t. So the P.G. fire smoke has spread over a much larger area than I could have imagined. And, some seemingly unconcerned desert big-horns just off the highway on the way home.
The smoke (schmoggk?) has gradually gotten so bad in our valley that one can gaze directly at the rising sun for an hour or so after daybreak.
The “official” P G Fire report states that it started Fri. 7/31 @ 5 p.m.– but I think I noticed the lightning bolt the evening before ~
now (8/23) more than 1/8 of a million acres (125k) have been devoured, and (sigh) will probably become the largest fire in our state before it comes to an end. As you probably suspect, what doesn’t help is that we’ve had NO RAIN so far this month. Our local newspaper has a ‘humor’ columnist, whose offering today was along the lines of … WHAT ELSE CAN HAPPEN? oh, Covid. What else? Political divisiveness to the extreme. And isn’t that enough? No … this fire and the severe compromised air-quality. Makes one wonder … (what … ?)