We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
I have lived through one of these Santa Anna driven wild fires and they move much faster than you can imagine. I first knew there was a small fire at 11:00 am, you could see it up on the hill far from any homes. Logic and experience would make you believe it would burn uphill. But the wind has it's own mind. By 1:00 pm the fire was quite large and even though I was perhaps 10 miles away the air was smoky. I called my children's school and was assured that with the fire some 7 miles away that they would release the children at the regular time and in any event they would not send the kids home early without contacting the parents. By 2:00 pm I was worried, the fire had grown and sine it was on the hills we in the city could see it how large it had grown. I asked my boss to leave early not too worried because my home was a good 7 miles from the fire and on level ground. The ride to my house was dramatic; thick smoke barely 40 feet above me while driving, ash and even embers falling. When I got home both of my children where there, released from school two hours early in spite of their reassurances that they wouldn't do that. I grabbed a few things and my kids and left. My neighbor was on his roof with a hose standing there in what must have been a 40 mph wind with ash and smoke all around him. Before this fire was over it burned well over 400 homes in 24 hours and spread over 14 miles. It was only when the winds died down that it was brought under control.
These fires are wind driven and feed on undergrowth dried to tinder in the Summer. They jump fire lines and travel faster than expected. It is very difficult as a resident of one of the towns in the path of the fire to know if it will reach you or how fast it will move towards you. These same fires have been occurring for millenniums and will continue into the future. Every area in California that has had one of these destructive fires has had these fires in the past and will have them in the future. There are no easy answers to this problem. My heart goes out to those who were affected by these fires.
I suppose I get blase about hurricanes, but I'm terrified of wildfires. If there was one that close to my house I'd be beside myself--and we don't have anything like the fuel load or the restricted exit roads that mountain/canyon towns do. And yet I realize that, in that kind of country, you can't panic every single time or you'd just have to move away altogether.