Fire is a river that runs uphill

Since it looks as if the SoCal fire season is going to be long and mean this year, scientist-blogger Grace Peng offers residents a quick primer on the physics of flames and wind here. "When the LA Times is showing pictures like this, and the MODIS Image of the Day shows a smoke plume like this, I field a few questions," she writes at Bad Mom, Good Mom.

In Ventura County, officials declared the Camarillo Springs fire 75% contained with full encircling expected Monday, thanks in large part to the cooler, wetter weather. More than 2,000 firefighters have worked on the fire at a cost of about $6.6 million. Cal State Channel Islands is expected to reopen to normal classes on Monday, says the Ventura County Star.

At his blog, LA-based Reuters photographer Jonathan Alcorn posts about covering the first big fire of the season — and puts up some of his images. That's one above.

At around 10 PM last night I arrived for the graveyard shift for Reuters at the Springs Fire to relieve a colleague. It was very surreal, you could hear the flames roaring and the peaceful sound of the waves crashing on the beach simultaneously.

Late Thursday evening, there wasn't too much firefighting happening because the flames were mostly on extremely steep hillsides. At my editor's suggestion I went about looking for a lifeguard tower to portray the story of the flames meeting the Pacific Ocean. I was down on the sand shooting reflections of the flames glowing on the water, and when I climbed up to the eerily empty highway, a police officer stopped to make sure I was ok because it was totally deserted at that spot except for my car parked on the road. He was super nice and asked if he could see the reflection photos.

The winds calmed down around 3 am or so and suddenly there were hardly any flames. I sat in my car editing and sending photos to the desk. Then I had some down time to rest until sunrise brought the winds back and bam, the fire was out of control and burning fiercely again and jumped PCH and started burning a remote section of the Point Mugu Naval base with a hardcore firefight taking place. It was a crazy 12 hours on the fire lines for sure.

Reuters photo by Jonathan Alcorn

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