The Fire When It Comes

Yes, there’s a big wildfire in the hills on the northwest edge of Los Angeles, just a few miles west of where I live and work. No, I’m not in any danger. The fire is burning southward, and there’s a huge pall of brown smoke in the sky — with the setting sun now shining an apocalyptic red through it — but it’s still mostly a brushfire, with only one house burned.

Southern California had a very wet winter last year, but the irony of that is that the rain causes the brush to grow and thus enhances the fire danger in the following summer — or fall, actually, which is when most of the fires occur. This summer was not especially hot, but once the Santa Ana winds kicked up yesterday morning — that hot dry breeze rustling the leaves and tinkling the chimes, at 6 a.m. — the stage was set.

So, no worries for now. The winds, actually, have died down… so that the smoke spreads in every direction… There’s the strong smell of smoke here now, and a premature twilight.

UPDATE 6:15: And the power went out, for just a couple minutes…

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