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The morning sun through the smoke as ash fell on campus.

The morning sun through the smoke as ash fell on campus.

The fires are over in Santa Barbara, or at least over in that those evacuated can return. In the past I have either been out of the country for the big Santa Barbara fires or they have been in non-threatening locations like Gaviota Pass.

This time though I know at least three people directly effected.

My classmate was evacuated Wednesday at 3am, he had a flight in the morning out of LAX. While he was not displaced that much from the fires he did not  have a chance to pack and wound up moving back in at 1am Monday morning. For him he was just greatly inconvenienced.

My Astrobiology professor had a stroke of luck. Evacuated Wednesday that night he saw his house on TV with the angle showing flames leaping up from his roof line. Eventually he found better footage and found that his neighbors house had burned down. The house across the street burned down. His other neighbor had their yard burned down. His roof took some superficial fire damage but otherwise survived.

A professor who I had for sophomore lab, and who wrote me a letter of recommendation, lost his house. The fire engulfed it and burned it down. I have not heard anything from the department yet about, but I would not be surprised if there is a fund or some sort of communal support from the students.

But now this fire is over, but it will not the last of the year. Last summer the entire state was on fire, hopefully this year will not be as flammable as the last.

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I am more alarmed by the smoke then the actual fire.

I don't know if any of the nearby hills have not burned in the past four years.

So Santa Barbara is on fire again, according to The Daily NexusBBC and the giant plume of smoke in the southern sky.

Of course this fire is related to the fact that it has gone from windy with a slight chill to surprisingly toasty. And with the heat comes a lack of motivation or energy to do anything.

Especially when dressed in a fencing jacket, metal lamé and a nice padded mask.

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Fourth of July Fireworks

Fourth of July Fireworks

“Remember remember the Fifth of November,

The Gunpowder Treason and Plot”

I celebrated Guy Fawkes day for the first time last year while in Scotland. As an American I thought that the celebrations were for Guy Fawkes and what he almost accomplished. Maybe just in Scotland.

Arthur’s Seat, an extinct volcano in the middle of Edinburgh, was the site of many celebrations on this holiday. When I think of fireworks I imagine a train professional launching them from a carefully selected and prepared field to avoid any chance of fire. These were not trained professionals. Sure some fireworks were launched straight into the air and a few at lower angles due to unfamiliarity of the small explosives.

But there was also a way going on.

Two sides fought that night on that old volcano. Fireworks streamed down from atop the crags and shot towards a group on the lower slopes below them. The lower group returned fire with a majority overshooting the cliffs; a few exploded brilliantly on the sides.

I was concerned about this flagrant disregard for fire safety. Earlier that week a friend told me that Arthur’s Seat caught on fire most years on Guy Fawkes Night. My minds eye pictured a small blaze starting on one side then sweeping up and over the park to leave nothing but a blackened trail behind.

There was a fire. In fact there were at least two fires. The first was a bush at the base of a hill covered in what I believe was gorse, the second a small tree at the base of the crags. The first fire burned the single bush and then went out. The second had some helpful students (chemists likely) throwing alcohol on it to, you know, help it along.

As I left a single fire truck arrived to put out the fire, a fire whizzed over the top of the truck and struck grass just as the truck pulled up.

Later that week the southern half of my state was on fire.

I still wonder why such a damp country has such strict fire safety rules.

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