I live in Encino, a suburb of Los Angeles — in between the two major areas — and looking to either the north or the south, all you can see is gray smoke covering both horizons. The smell of smoke has settled over into our neighborhood, and my sister (about 10 miles north) has ash falling on her community. The winds are very strong — 2 trees on my street split and fell over the past few days, and my sister’s neighbor is facing a split tree (about 100 foot) in jeopardy of falling onto his and my sister’s roofs. My cousin, in Malibu, has been advised to be ready for evacuation, has her car packed and is minutes away from leaving and will likely end up on our doorstep in a couple of hours.
The danger with the winds is that when the trees fall, they land on power lines, which then arc and the embers quickly fly into the very dry brush. Once the fire ignites, the winds are fanning the flames extremely quickly. In one area 1 mile burned within 5 minutes…faster than a person can run away. If you are in an area that is experiencing very fast moving fire, you can get caught with a car that cannot start due to the lack of oxygen. Much better to leave before the fire is too close. It’s a bad night in Southern California. A bad, bad night.