You know the old joke about the four seasons in Socal: Heat, Mudslide, Earthquake and Fire?
The Santa Ana winds arrived early this year, bringing 100+ degree heat... and, as usual, some idiot decided to start a fire yesterday. (I am assuming that the blaze that's burned over 17,000 acres as of this posting was manmade. Most of them are.)
After all the rain we had this winter, the firefighting agencies were predicting a horrendous season for brush fires. Fortunately, as of this afternoon, only one home had been damaged by the fire. A report on the local NPR station attributed that to the fact that homeowners here have been diligent about clearing the brush on their land following the devastating fires of 2003.
Firefighters also acknowledged the fact that for the first time in memory, homeowners are heeding their evacuation orders. The spokesman on the radio called it "The Katrina Factor."
If you looked northeast, you'd be struck by how beautiful and clear the day was. But late this afternoon, the western sky was shrouded in smoke, masking the sun so that it appeared a bright orange. Although the fire is several miles away, ash is raining on everything here, and my daughter came home from school complaining that it hurt to breathe. I'm feeling it myself, especially in my eyes, which are watering pretty badly from all the smoke in the air.
I took some pictures with my cameraphone, but when I tried to post them here, they all bounced back. I guess it's just as well; the clarity from the phone shots isn't very good and so they don't do justice to the horrifying beauty of the smoke emanating from the mountains west of here.
Just another autumn day in L.A.