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Early Sunday afternoon, the light streaming through the window beside my desk changed from a common, pale blue to an eerie golden glow. Coincidentally, or so I thought, my wife had received a snapshot on social media of a huge, stunning and oddly isolated cloud taken by a friend who lives about 5 miles west of our place. She had never seen such a thing.

Neither had we.

And it turns out that the golden glow that had invaded my office and the strange new cloud our friend had snapped were closely one and the same; the firstfruits of the soon to be famous Jerusalem Fire ’21, about to introduce itself to Israel’s capital city even more dramatically.

By the time I stepped to a window to investigate, things had already changed. The golden glow had begun to trend black and fully half the sky had grown darker. For some reason, our neighborhood streets were wet, shiny black, as if it had rained. After a little research, I found out that it had rained. And though we were 7 miles from its origin, the fire had caused it…

“Fires can also produce their own clouds—we call those pyrocumulus clouds,” and they’re not just smoke plumes but actual clouds made up of water droplets. “And if they’re really deep, they’re called pyrocumulonimbus, because they’re almost like a thunderstorm,” … Some fires even create their own thunderstorms and lightning. (Cal State University, Understanding Fire. LINK)

The fire lasted three days, caused health warnings, evacuations, near evacuations and immersed much of Jerusalem in horribly smelly, smoke-and-ash-laden air. But a strong breeze—which had been a huge part of the problem—quickly cleared the air on day four (though the ecological loss caused by the blazer is still being evaluated).

All’s well that ends. Check out the pictures and video below for a bit more information.


Jerusalem fire

The gold cloud trends black

Jerusalem fire

A dove makes its way

Jerusalem fire

Smoke in the morning