Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Trogdor's Rampage

Sunday night, when I came in to work, there were a couple of small brushfires burning on the side of the highway. Overnight, the Santa Ana winds picked up, and by the wee hours of Monday morning, one of the brushfires was a full-blown wildfire. Since the place I work was directly downwind from the fire, we started getting more and more smoke blown our way. By about 5:30 in the morning, I took a peek out the side door to see if I could actually spot any of the flames, and I was afraid I would lose a limb trying to fight the wind to keep the door open. By sunrise, the air was choked with heavy smoke, and a mobile home park had been torched. Our building lost electricity, most likely from the wind whipping power lines around so violently. The freeway was closed. My boss told me to take off early, since my commute was likely to be twice as long on surface streets and the other freeways onto which all the traffic had been diverted. Plus, you know, no electricity. So I headed home, through the growing smoke clouds.

Check out the trees. See how windy it was?
(For the record, traffic on my side of the road was stopped when I took this picture.)

Later that morning a second fire broke out across the valley. Traffic was chaos, the smoke was awful, and the company I work for went ahead and shut down operations for the day. So I had Monday night off, and while I'm always grateful for any extra sleep opportunities these days, I do feel bad that the circumstances involved people losing their homes. It's the same thing every year down here between fires and mudslides and whatever else. We've been fortunate to have always been out of the danger zones, personally, but it's still sad to see people lose everything year after year.

Anyway. Fire crews got the blazes mostly under control, so I'm back at work tonight. The pungent smoke smell has dulled to more of a cozy campfire smell, which is at least less unpleasant, if misleading. At least the wind has been blowing everything to the south and west, well away from Pasadena, so there haven't been too many irritants in the air for the little sir to breathe in. (More on him in the next post.)


MC Squared said...

OK, I haven't read this yet, but the title made me snort, and that deserved comment. :D

susan said...