Ash Looks Like Snow As It Falls In Southern California

Thomas Fire

As Thomas Fire burned this past Sunday, ash fell in a snow-like fashion. Smoke filled the air. The air quality was so bad, even in areas where people were not ordered to evacuate. The fire affected people in wealthy areas—areas where celebrities live.

Some residents who were not under evacuation orders decided to evacuate in an attempt to leave before possible future shut downs of an important coastal highway. This coastal high way had shut down numerous times the week before.

Officials gave masks to people who stayed behind in Montecito, a place where many celebrities such as Drew Barrymore, Oprah Winfrey and Jeff Bridges live.

Celebrities took to social media to express their opinions and hopes. Ellen Degeneres tweeted that people were actively helping each other and animals find safe havens. She expressed her gratitude by thanking the fire departments and the sheriff.

On Sunday, actor Rob Lowe livestreamed the evacuation of his family from their house. He commented on Instagram and expressed hopes that everyone would get out safe. He also thanked the firefighters.

In Montecito, people experienced everything being covered in white-colored ash. The ash would get on people's clothing as they walked through it. The smoke was so thick that visibility was sometimes only a few feet.

Authorities have been constantly telling people to avoid outdoor activities and stirring up ash. This is because of the fact that the air quality has become so bad from the ash.

Unhealthy air is not something to ignore. Airborne particulates can cause respiratory problems by lodging into lungs. The air quality of neighborhoods affected by this ash has reached the same level of unhealthiness as in China near heavily-polluting coal plants.

The Santa Ana Winds have played a big part in the spread of the Thomas Fire. The winds start from inland and blow toward the Pacific Ocean. As they blow westward, they pick up speed as they nudge their way through canyons and hills.

It is not usual for fires to break out during this time of year. However, very dry conditions, dry vegetation and the Santa Ana Winds can combine to cause untimely wildfires.

This past spring, California had emerged from a drought that plagued the state for several years. However, within the past 6 months there has been hardly any rain, creating perfect conditions for wildfires to spread. The high fire risk in Southern California will remain until January 1st.