Beneath A Pyrocumulus Cloud

September 20, 2019



Photographer: Jim Ritter 
Summary Author: Jim Ritter 

19A_4654-EditShown above is a view looking almost straight up at a pyrocumulus cloud that was generated from the Tenaja Fire earlier this month as it burned near Murrieta, California. I happened to look up when the fire was really getting hot and noticed cumulus clouds forming above me -– I was perhaps 1,500 ft (457 m) from the fire at the time. I’ve shot pyrocumulus clouds before, but never from below.

The bottom photo shows fire retardant and water being dropped during the first hours of the fire (on September 4, 2019). This conflagration was believed to be initiated by a lightning strike. The photo at left (inset) shows another view of this fire. Top photo and inset taken on the afternoon of September 5, 2019.