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September 06, 2007

The fire in the eastern foothills of Santa Clara Valley beganalmost 3 days ago and was first spotted from the James LickObservatory – so has been dubbed the Lick Fire. The first day and ahalf, an enormous plume ofsmoke could be seen rising in the hills by south San Jose andMorgan Hill from Henry Coe State Park.  Smoke and haze hungover the eastern range; it was in contrast to the rest of the areabetween there and the coastal foothills, where thesky remained blue.

But chiarascura didn’t last. For a day now, the haze hasthickened. Smoke is pouring in, and not much of it seems to beescaping.

We can’t see the plume anymore. We can’t even see that bank ofhills anymore. Too much smoke.

A 7:15 am view of the sun from close to Los Gatos at Blossom Hill Road and Camden Avenue, Sept 6 2007

This morning I drove my kids toschool in and near downtown San Jose (Notre Dame High School andBellarmine College Prep). Heading east on Blossom Hill Road, wewere shocked at the eeriely discolored sun hanging low in the sky.It was a pinkish red, a look that you might see just at sunseton a fall or summer evening – but not when the sun was so high inthe sky. (Photo above taken with Palm Treo.) It was justcreepy.

Because the fire is located in a remote region of the park, withrough terrain and no roads, it’s difficult to get close enough toeven fight it.

Often fires begin because of a cigarette tossedcarelessly. Earlier this summer, a fire ignited whensomeone used a power mower to cut back brush and a spark it threwironically began the blaze that clearing the brush was intended toprevent.

This fire was said to have been caused by a person burningthings in a barrell at a private hunting camp. No one has beennamed, but this mishap turned nightmare could turn into a financialliabilty approaching two million dollars. The fire may grow to30,000 acres and will go down as one of the largest ever in theSilicon Valley area.

Today the heat will be at a high for the week, which means that thesmoke will continue to accumulate, firefighters will still contendwith extreme conditions and the fire will have no natural incentiveto stop. When will it be contained? No one knows, but theyhave a long way to go.

Rain would be good right about now.