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Back Home, Through and Past the Smoke (Yosemite Rim Fire Detour)

Back home via California Hwy 108, over which the huge Yosemite rim fire sends its noxious plume. At one point I got out of the car for a few snaps, but my nose felt a burning sensation from the acrid smoke. I did not try that again. Getting that stuff into lungs is a bad idea, yet I saw one (insane) cyclist climbing Sonora Pass east in that smoke (though it was not nearly as bad there).

Quite smoky at higher elevations, but the HEPA filter in my car and on recirculate mode cut out nearly all the smell and other nasties, so long as I did not open a window or door. However, getting out of the car to gas-up left those clothes reeking of smoke.

Firefighters and support personnel abounded, with a number of bulldozers on flatbed trucks heading uphill. I inquired while gassing my car and a fire fighter told me that they are bulldozing 50-foot wide strips in a hope to stop the fire.

Smoke on California Hwy 108 from Yosemite rim fire , August 29 2013 at ~ 8:30 AM
Thick smoke on California Hwy 108 from Yosemite rim fire , August 29 2013 at ~ 8:30 AM

Video: C-130 Hercules fire-retardant airplane

Here is a video of the fire shot from a C-130 Hercules fire-retardant plane (thanks to reader Bill H for sending link). Note that the fire has to be massive for it take so long to approach the smoke plume (apparently 150 mph, yet it takes a long time to approach the fire).

The smoke plume about 4:00 minutes into the video is immense and impressive, and the fire retardant “drop” starts around then. That plane needs a “landing gear!” silencing button! Which it apparently has, and apparently was pressed after a bit. I suppose that pilots doing this work tune that out after a while.


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