Snowing ash here. The sky a yellowish brown, which brings out the green in the trees and shrubs -- a somber, dusty green. The Jacaranda that hangs over the west corner of our house is luminescent and gorgeous.
There are now three separate fires, and the primary fear seems to be that they will merge into one.
Everywhere that robust acidic "campfire" smell without the marshmallows and cricket chatter.
The wind has died down, but not much. The fire chief has introduced us to the subtle difference between "control" and "containment." They're shooting for control right now, and containment is days away. The mayor just this morning predicted a "5-day event."
We stay inside for the most part but just ventured out to the store and Target to pick up something for our oldest daughter's 9th birthday tomorrow. About half the people out and about had on surgical masks.
My office is in the garage (we're safe here, by the way, tucked away in the heart of the concrete jungle, little risk of fires jumping here), and the smoke smell is pretty bad, so I'll have to keep this short and head back in.
Evidently this thing was started (unconfirmed report) by a lost hunter shooting off a flare. I've heard mixed reports of between 150 and 650 houses gone -- eleven people dead, including one guy found in his pickup truck on the side of the road near the casino on Route 8.
Schools were closed, probably again tomorrow, so the kids will be happy.
Air traffic also affected, so I'm wondering selfishly if I'll be able to fly to New York on Friday without major complications. Heading up and out for the Subpress reading. That would be the fifth day of the five-day event, so I'll have to wait and see.
I love the way local news reporters handle disasters of this order. It didn't take long, for example, for one of them to haul out the old "war zone" metaphor. And one of them waxed rhapsodic, I swear, about a telephone pole burned through at its base and dangling from the wires. They didn't have the footage, so she had to describe, and the image she conjured was indeed rather strange and wonderful.