Fire in the Skies

July 4, 2015

Smoke on the water, fire in the skies.  This line from the chorus of a song made famous by the 1980s heavy metal band Deep Purple seems appropriate in light of the river of smoke that is whipping into the United States from Canada.  It seems that the forests in the Northwestern regions of Canada are burning.  So instead of sending the usual blast of cold air into the jet stream that fuel our cold fronts, Canada is sending us smoke.   This stream of smoke is in the higher altitudes which makes the sky hazy instead of bright blue as is normal in the summer.  Will this smoke reach East Texas?  Doubtful.  Why mention this at all if we aren’t affected?  You know the saying, it’s an ill wind that blows no good?  Well, photographers, both amateur and professional, are capturing some amazing pictures of the blood red midday sun and the pumpkin orange midnight moon.   If you remember your science lessons from way back, then the change in color from white to red and orange won’t be a mystery to you. 

But if you are like most of us, and your memory of the light spectrum and how it affects nature is so hazy that it can’t cloud up your awe, these rare pictures will blow you away like…smoke on the water.  Remember that ill wind that blows no good?  Well, it is still an ill wind.  NASA warns that it is not wise to linger outside to view the vibrant sunsets that result from the smoke stream.  Those small particles of smoke that filter out the blues, purples, and greens and make the pinks, reds, and oranges more vivid contain carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, and soot. All of these air pollutants are hazardous to your health.  Also, wildfires can’t be left to burn out on their own.  They are greedy and will consume whatever is in their path.  Luckily there are no people in the path of the Canadian wildfires, yet, but fighting fires requires firefighters.  These brave men and women are at risk every day the fire continues.  Let’s pray that the fires are contained swiftly and that all the firefighters return home to their loved ones safely. Oh yeah, before I forget there is another fire in the sky worth mentioning…

Happy 239th 4th of July

Picture of moon  by Bob King click to read more
Image of USA flag with fireworks courtesy of nirots at
Image of Sun Rays...courtesy of stuart miles at


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