Posted 17 September 2006 by Robert Peake.

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I woke up late this morning to red dawn light pouring in our windows. It has continued all morning, casting an incandescent orange glow over everything. Our porch and driveway are finely dusted with ash. The cat has been on edge–the warning signs of an oncoming fire are deeply primal. We’re heading toward Ventura shortly, possibly down to LA (to catch the last of the West Hollywood Book Fair or maybe visit The Getty)–anywhere to escape the pervasive smell.

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Apparently a fire that was lit on Labor Day has been smoldering along and was fanned into action by Santa Ana winds yesterday. 1,600 firefighters have been dispatched. They’re trying to contain a 48-square-mile wilderness blaze in some of our favorite hiking country, the Sespe. Fortunately, the winds have died right down today. Campsites just a few miles North of us have been evacuated. We may be next.

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It is strangely beautiful and haunting–the orange cast on everything, the message of ash carried many miles to our doorstep. Hopefully they will get things under control before it reaches the Condor Sanctuary or gets too close to any homes. We’re dropping off a spare key with my parents just before we leave town, so they can gather up the cat and laptops if our neighborhood gets word to evacuate.

 

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