Now that the wind and smoke have shifted, watching the progress of the fire has become a nervous office pastime. It’s far enough not to threaten us here, but from the windows along one side of the building, we can see the blackened hills through the haze. And we’ve got people who live in the areas being threatened. Every so often, a group will collect either looking out a conference room window, or checking current fire status online.

Charred Hills

Sunlight is almost normal, if a tad yellowish. I went over to the Spectrum for lunch (yesterday I just ate in the cafe downstairs), and everything looked like business as usual…with one key difference. People weren’t sitting outside if they could help it. Normally, on a day this hot, the tables outside the food court would be full, and small children would be running through the fountain. Today those tables were empty.

Wisps of smoke in the sky

I went up to the top floor of the parking structure to see what I could see, and to be honest, it wasn’t much. Even though the air was (relatively) clear where I was, it was still hazy off in the direction of the hills.

The wind mostly swept the pavement and sidewalks free of ash, but it’s collected on anything rougher—like a lawn. Whenever I cross a strip of grass, little puffs of dust rise around my feet. I had to clean my shoes when we got home.

Around 4:30 or so, the smoke lifted enough that the mountains were visible. After a few minutes, a thin column of smoke rose from behind the hills, with occasional bright flashes visible as flames flared up past the ridge.

Saddleback Smoke

It was getting dark by the time I picked Katie up from her office. On the way home, we could see the top of the ridge of hills silhouetted by a faint orange glow to the southeast.

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