lulu, hillsider companion

lulu, hillsider companion

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Fire season returns to Northern California; more good stuff from Rodney Strong Vineyards; and a late spring storm system brings rain and snow to Shasta and the Lemurians...

We've been waiting to get some indication of what this upcoming fire season was going to look like, given that we've been blessed so far this year with substantial rainfalls and a healthy snowpack, both for the first time in more than a few moons. Several regions on the state have actually been removed from the "drought" classification, and water restrictions eased or even lifted in a few areas. Whether that will prove to be a wise decision remains to be seen, because people will be people, but we shall see how things play out as the summer goes on.

However, be that as it may, we have now gotten a look at what the forests are going to do when summer stresses materialize, particularly the ever-present reality of pop-up lightning storms in the mountains. Right now, and for the past 2 weeks, the Pony Fire complex is burning in the Klamath National Forest, about 15 miles southwest of Happy Camp, and just west of Hwy 96 near Klamath. More than 1200 firefighters were committed to the fire at its peak, which finally grew to 148,000 + acres before being contained as of this morning's InciWeb summary of the official briefing. The area is isolated and contains heavy understory growth and a good deal of dead material on the ground that remains from earlier fires, primarily from the summer of 2008, I would guesss. I suppose that what we've learned so far is that the forests are still very receptive and ready to ignite at the first opportunity, so we'll follow along and see what happens. We've already seen a few small grass/brush fires here in the Whiskeytown Lake area over the last several weeks, stuff in the 15-40 or so acre range, but nothing dramatic as yet. However, it's only a matter of time. Southern California is getting its first early dose, as well, with the Sherpa Fire burning at 7600+ acres in the Los Padres National Forest west/northwest of Santa Barbara, which is claimed to be 45% contained at present' However, they're dealing with terrible conditions in the way of high temperatures and high winds.  We wish them luck.

Moving on, we're pleased to see that the folks at Rodney Strong continue to do the right things with sauvignon blanc; their 2015 Charlotte's Home (Northern Sonoma) model is a very pretty and well-made wine that is as good an example of what the grape can do while still being priced at a level ($12.99 at retail locally) that anyone can justify shelling out for an evening's good time. Bouquet is expansive and floral, color is bright straw, and the fruit is lush and persistent. All in all, very tasty and a perfect accompaniment to cold chicken and shrimp salads, or equally nice as a cocktail wine on a hot afternoon.

I'm finishing this (I admit falling asleep immediately after the conclusion of O J: Made In America last night, which is without doubt the best work I've ever seen on this tragic event) early (relative term, I guess) in the day after a night that brought our part of the state one last (probably) spring storm system that pushed through a massive wall of soft, steady drizzle here in the far North Valley, as well as a big mother of a snow dump in the higher elevations of the Sierra and Cascades. Great surprise this morning to get my first peeks at Mt. Shasta as it struggled to shed the cloud cover hiding its new snow. Exactly what we needed heading into summer! Enjoy, Lemurians!

More in a few days.