Nature, in the form of wind and wildfire, certainly has our attention here in Southern California. I read now about "wild land - urban interface." Millions of Americans have built homes in the piney woods and picturesque hills of sage and brush. Wildfires form part of our local ecology. Unfortunately, there are now so many homes and other buildings that a natural process becomes a human disaster. Evacuating 500,000 people is a precaution. I think about 4,000 homes are considered threatened, some of them are already gone. It does look like the aftermath of a war.
I'm not immediately affected, except by the poor air quality. I live in the coastal part of the city, on the first wide ridge or plateau up from the Pacific. Fires are burning inland, past the first line of hills that run north and south. Roads have been closed and reopened. We're all being advised to stay home if we can, conserve electricity, yet turn on air conditioners part of the time to filter what we're breathing. A lot of schools and businesses are closed. Many schools are evacuation centers. The local NBC TV station ran breaking fire news and video at least 48 hours in a row. Evacuees were sitting in Qualcomm Stadium with their water bottles watching those big screens, trying to see if their homes were spared. A lot of them must still be doing that. Everybody who isn't immediately affected has a family member or friend who is. The scam artists and identity thieves are busy, but so are the everyday heroes and helpers.
I'm OK. The dry Santa Ana weather always causes bleeding sinuses and respiratory problems. The ash makes breathing more difficult. I've been out for a few hours at a time for groceries or post office. Small urban businesses, especially eating places, are open. Everywhere people are filling in for employees who can't get through closed roads, or are living on the floor of a stadium entry with their families, or are totally distracted by the danger to, or loss, of their homes. Some people's quality of life will be rock bottom for the foreseeable future. So many repetitions of, "We're alive. We're together. That's all that matters."