We are lucky today. We live about 30 miles from the nearest fire that is devastating parts of southern California. On my morning walk, in our area of the Palos Verdes Peninsula, I do get a view across Santa Monica Bay toward Malibu. And the smoke is visible. This morning as I came out of the house I could smell the smoke; it is unmistakable. My thoughts are with those who are in the midst of the flames and smoke, those whose lives and homes are threatened.
The closest I have been to feeling what it is like to be in the midst of one of these fires came 3 years ago when so much of San Diego County burned. We had driven down on a Sunday morning and saw a lot of smoke and a small fire alongside the highway at Camp Pendleton. In the Carlsbad and Del Mar areas we faced heavy smoke along Interstate 805. At my in-laws home, many miles from the fires, there was a layer of ash on the cars. When I left to return to Los Angeles that afternoon, I had to detour from my normal route. The 805 had been closed because of zero visibility. I was redirected to Interstate 5 and headed north with traffic barely crawling along all the way to Oceanside where it finally cleared up. My normal 2 hour drive lasted well over 4 hours.
There are few things in life as scary as massive fire. I felt the fear just driving through heavy smoke. I was reminded of that fear when I smelled the smoke this morning and I pray that the winds die down and no more lives and property are lost. And my thoughts are also with the heroes out there on the line fighting the fires.