Driving past or near several towns along Hwy 108 currently under evacuation advisories, I could not see the smoke from the fires as the highway winds through tall pines. Finally, between the towns of Long Barn and Cold Springs there are several turnouts and the first chance to see the smoke covering the distant ridges.
(Click thru the image for the 700px view)
The reasons for these evacuation orders are the unpredictable nature of these steep terrain forest files and the changing wind conditions. At times, this fire has become so hot, it creates it’s own weather and winds. So these towns less than 5 miles and one ridge away, have slowly become deserted with residents and filled by firefighters creating fire breaks lines and standing watch in hopes of protecting the town if needed.
After a few compositions here, it was a drive back down to the town of Sonora for some vittles before heading past Jamestown, the next town along Hwy 49, and along Hwy 120, the northeastern route into Yosemite. Since I already knew the road would be closed 50 miles further, it was a matter of trying to find shots of the fire through mountain gaps. Recalling the terrain along the route, it is not worth driving much further and eventually being asked to turn around. I did read in the news later that evening that some establishments in Groveland, the last real town before heading into Yosemite, are still open. It might have been worth the driving effort to get closer to the fire and the epicenter of emergency activity.
EXIF data: Nikon D7000, center weighted metering mode, ISO 100, 175mm, f/16, 1/5 sec
Long Barn (CA), Rim Fire Smoke, Bell Mountain Haze. Long Barn, Tuolumne County, California. August 24, 2013. © Copyright Steven Tze – all rights reserved.