Smell of Underlying Panic

I had not checked the news all day and was casually driving for an Eid dinner when all of a sudden I saw this huge smoke covering almost the entire sky. As I happened to drive right through it, I could easily see the massive fires over the hills.

I just couldn’t keep the strong smell of smoke out of my car. I think it was making people worry. People slowing down even on the freeway, with panic on their faces, frantically talking on cell phones. I sensed that this smell was making people realize that the fires this time are just around the neighborhood and not just on TV screens anymore. The pictures I have taken here are not of good ones as I was driving while taking them.

— As of today the fire has reached only 5 miles away from my home, but from the reports, it looks unlikely it will reach my neighborhood God willing. Nevertheless, I have already made a mental list of the most important things I will reach for if there is a need to evacuate. Yes, my HDD is one of them.More than a quarter of a million people were urged to flee their homes on Monday as wildfires ravaged Southern California for a second day, destroying hundreds of homes and businesses and charring swaths of scrub and forestland.
The fires, a Hydra with at least 15 separate burns in seven counties fed by gale-force winds, burned some 267,000 acres from Santa Barbara to the Mexican border. Engines and firefighters from as far as Nevada and Arizona were summoned as resources were stretched to the limit. 

Houses burned with no firefighters in sight as emergency crews on the ground and in the air struggled to keep up with shifting wind that fanned new fires and made others recede and reignite.— (NY Times 10/23)
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