This is not a fire!

These images were captured 11-Jan-14 from 9:40 to 9:50 AM.  We are looking Eastward across a valley, approximately 1/4 mile Southwest of the intersection of Capital of Texas Hwy (360) and US 183 in Austin, TX.  It looks like smoke plumes in a forest fire but, in fact, it is pollen bursting from cedar trees over just a short period of 10 minutes!  One of the images shows large amounts of airborn pollen laid up in a canyon leading into the SE side of the valley.

Cedar pollen is a harsh irritant to the human respiratory system.  You do not have to suffer from a true “allergy” to become quite sick from cedar pollen.

Interestingly, cedar is not a true native plant in this part of Texas. Until approximately 250 years ago cedar was nearly non-existent here.  It’s a highly adaptable and agressive plant, though, which has flourished in the region as a result of our human presence (cattle ranching, land development, and alteration of the natural water system).