The Zaca fire that has so far destroyed over 143,000 acres continues to burn, although it is now 59 percent contained. But all it will take is a big wind in the wrong direction to undo this containment in a heartbeat. The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s have issued an advisory that people living in an area on our side of the mountains about 12 miles away from where I’m typing these words should start thinking about evacuation.
We are all living under a cloud of smoke and ash. The ash covers cars and anything else left outside for even a few minutes. Take a look at the picture below and compare it to the one at the top of my post from a few days ago. Both were taken from about the same vantage point, which is about a half mile from our house. You can see the nasty, yellowish smoke we’re having to live with most of the time. It is not fun.
You can see the scale of the fire from the pictures below. The first one is a photo MD took of my golf swing a couple of months ago on a nice, clear typical Santa Barbara day. Ignore the fact that I should have been a little more behind the ball and should have had my hips more open. Instead look at the mountain range in the background. Then look at the bottom picture, which I took yesterday afternoon. The camera angle was a little different in the two pictures, but you can get a sense of proportion by comparing the trashcan and the red topped stake in both.
And in case you’re wondering, that’s not a cumulus cloud in the second picture. That’s billowing smoke.


  1. I’ll be gone for a week and away from a computer but I’ll be thinking about you and MD and really hoping that you will not have to evacuate.
    Fires are such scary business. I still remember waking up almost every night when the Hayman fire was burning a few years ago and smelling the smoke as it drifted north and the day when it was at its worst and the ash came floating out of the sky.
    As I said, I’ll be keeping you both in my thoughts.
    Hi Esther–
    Thanks for the nice thoughts. I just heard late yesterday that it looks like the edge of the fire that is threatening Santa Barbara has been contained. It’s moving down towards Ventura County and all the folks living there are preparing to evacuate.
    Hope you’re going somewhere fun.

  2. I’m thinking 12 miles is how far I drive to get to the park where i can walk my dogs off leash several times a week.. Not as far as I first thought. I’ll be praying for full containment and no wind!
    You and I both.

  3. DM
    Oh, the false modesty — you’re in a good position there and you know it. I’m going to call this photo “Pretty in Pink”. Par 3, #13 at La Cumbre — did you make another ace?
    Nah, but I did par the hole. And out of that big bunker on the lake side to boot, which doesn’t say a lot for my tee shot. A sandy par. Would have been worth some bucks had I been playing with my good buddy instead of playing squaw golf.

  4. I sincerely hope you don’t have to evacuate; and that you, your wife, your family, and house remain safe and sound.
    As long as the winds don’t change dramatically I think we’re past the danger point.
    Thanks for the good thoughts.

  5. Stay safe, Dr. Eades. Don’t hesitate for one more bag or one more book if it’s time to go.
    Thanks for the good thoughts. If the wind cooperates I think we’ll be fine. Finally.

  6. Dr. Mike: Glad to hear the wind is blowing the right way in your neighborhood at this point. Stay safe; we need you to keep blogging.
    PS – If you haven’t already seen it, the NYTimes had a front page article today about type 2 diabetes and cv. Unfortunately the reporter (Gina Kolata, who I’ve never heard off) got most of it just totally wrong imo. The article was also very unbalanced in that there was no discussion of reputable sources that have a contrary view of the diet/cholesterol theory. She should at the very least have mentioned Dr. Kendrick’s book and Gary Taubes’ book which she easily could have gotten an advance copy of. This article must be the absolute nadir of MSM reportage on these topics. At least I hope it can’t get any worse. The NYTimes editorial staff should hang their heads in shame for letting such shoddy work get published.
    Stay safe.
    Thanks for the good thoughts, Wil. The worst – at least for us here in Santa Barbara – seems to be over. As long as the winds don’t switch.
    I saw today’s piece by Gina Kolata, who is one of the NY Time’s top health reporters and is often very good, but I haven’t read it yet. She’s not particularly good, however, on dietary topics. She’s in the midst of the low-fat coven that includes Jane Brody and Marian Burros, so she’s not likely to write anything glowing about low-carb diets being good for much of anything.

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