Fire

When I went out to the balcony to watch the sunset yesterday there was a plume of smoke in the mountains across the Gulf. I went down to the beach to take a couple of photos. It was obvious a significant west wind was blowing across the fire, pushing the column of smoke sideways toward Athens.  When I got back to the balcony the sun had set and in the shadows I could see flames with the naked eye.  As the sky darkened, the flames advanced and joined, forming what looked from the south to be a wall of fire.   The camera lost its ability to focus in the dark but as midnight approached, the fire seemed to break apart again, presumably having burnt itself out.

In that first thumbnail taken from the balcony, you can see what I think is a fire plane, wheeling away after a water drop.  I think the planes stopped flying at dark — at least I didn’t see any signs of aircraft after that.

The first two balcony shots were taken at 30x, well into the digital zoom range, presumably with the ISO pushed to max, so they’re really grainy and noisy.

This morning, from the water, I could see the area smoldering but it was clear the fire was out.  I saw nothing about it in the news websites.  I don’t think there is a village in the affected area.

As in the American west, wild fires are simply a part of summer in southern Greece.  The hot winds known as Meltimi winds blow down out of the Balkan peninsula, and spring’s wildflowers and greenery, having long since turned to kindling by cloudless, scorching weather, combust with the least encouragement.  The absence of trees here makes the fires relatively less intense; the flames consume the available fuel quickly.  Still, this seems to me very early for the number of fires I’m seeing reported.  This is something I normally associate with August, so I’m afraid we could be in for a bad fire season.

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