Time-lapse footage of burning chaparral in California (near Los Angeles, if it makes sense to say "near Los Angeles" for something so amorphous) by Dan Blank, set to music from Brian Eno's Another Green World.
The video above is unsettling, unnerving and almost impossible not to watch. Again, sublime in the original sense. Fires continue to burn around Los Angeles; unusual 'winter fires' burn on the south coast of New South Wales with forecast of an El Nino for this spring; the Premier of Victoria recently warned Victorians that 13 years of drought will make the coming fire season the worst ever.
Whilst burning of Californian chaparral is required for germination and hence regeneration of the terrain – akin to, if not exactly the same as, Aboriginal firestick farming here in Terra Australis – there can be little doubt that such events are only likely to increase in scale and ferocity due to climate change. I'd only recently seen the similarities between southern and eastern Australia and California first-hand, but here they are linked again by fire. And while Australia is naturally "an arsonist's wet dream" as Thomas Kenneally put it, this feels like something else.
DH Lawrence wrote of the Australian bush (in Kangaroo, 1923): "It was biding its time with a terrible ageless watchfulness, waiting
for a far-off end, watching the myriad intruding white men.” With that in mind, it seems apposite to link back to my earlier post on the possible relationship between "intruding" urban sprawl and bushfires.
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