As I stepped out my back door Saturday, I thought “Oh, a neighbor’s having a barbeque.” But then, I realized it was a little late for dinner. Then, I noticed the gray haze that covered part of the sky. Then it hit me! Anyone who’s lived in California for very long knows what I’m talking about. It was obvious that a fire had erupted which is usually the case when the Santa Ana winds kick up. The Santa Ana’s come from the desert. They seem to innocently creep up out of nowhere.
But when they are in full effect, they can bring numerous problems with them ranging from minor nuisances such as chapped lips and allergies to full fledged uncontrollable wildfires, knocking down trees, claiming wildlife, homes, businesses and even lives before they leave just as mysteriously as they come. This happens each year in California. This year seems to be a little worse. I can see smoke in every direction outside my door. The fires are only a short drive from my house this year.
Today I woke up to an orange haze and what looks like ashes on my car. Though it could be dust from the pesky Santa Ana winds. Well, I decided to have a look for myself. I drove south toward Irvine where the autumn skies hade been blue just days ago. Now varying hues of orange, black and gray colored the sky.
The smoke was more intense than I anticipated as I drove past Irvine toward Stevenson Ranch where all I had to do was follow the trail of fire trucks and police cars to the largest of several fires in the area. People flocked outside their houses, waiting for the inevitable, their cars packed just in case of sudden evacuation. We drove up the hill to witness first hand a brush fire that had just jumped over the hill and was now trickling down the hill, down toward the beautiful, newly built up area of Stevenson Ranch.
Unfortunately, there is no way to get down into the hill where the fire was so firefighters and residents were waiting for the fire to come to them to begin trying to extinguish it. The smoke was so dense that some were shielding their faces with masks or clothing. So far, none of the homes in that area have been touched by the flames but the winds usually gain momentum during the night. We can only hope that the fire moves east, away from the homes.