Driving home

Last Sunday, following the conclusion of the SeAVP Conference and a pleasant visit to the Jacksonville Zoo, Brett, Tim, and I began driving home. The day at the zoo was sunny and bright, but just a few miles north of Jacksonville on Interstate 95 we began to run into some unusual conditions:

After a few minutes we began smelling smoke, and sure enough a quick check of the National Weather Service website revealed that there was a wildfire in Okefenokee Swamp, in Georgia near the Florida state line. As can be seen in the Google Earth image below, the fire (marked in red) was essentially due west of us (the blue dot):

After about 15 or 20 minutes we passed through the smoke, which had a distinct northern edge (note the blue sky just above the trees):

I’ve been thinking a lot about wildfires lately, as they’ve come up in two different research projects I’m working on. What really struck me was how dark it was 50 miles away from a large but by no means huge fire. There are records of enormous wildfires from various times in the past; they must have been awe-inspiring sites that darkened huge areas for perhaps weeks at a time.

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2 Responses to Driving home

  1. DB says:

    Told you! Wildfire is badass!!

  2. Brian Beatty says:

    That reminds me of a wildfire just north of Gainesville I drove through when I lived there… just on Waldo Rd near the small public airstrips, one could hardly see.
    But wildfires are natural parts of those pine forests, as are the regular storms in the late afternoons in the summer there. It’s when those sorts of things change frequency that we should start to worry. The rains changed patterns when I was in high school…

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