On the very day an ultimately devastating fire was beginning to rage toward Paradise, just a few miles down the mountain from where we live, our garden presented us with this group of fiery orange daylilies:
Aptly named as they are, this particular group was gone the next day, replaced by a smaller and less spectacular array. Unfortunately, not so the fire. Although we were safe in our home the whole time, the town of Paradise suffered some tremendous losses: over seventy homes, about 30,000 acres, and, if we are lucky, some complacency about how we should act when we live in a fire-prone area in a drought year during a windstorm.
I am always amazed when I drive around town and see people with their cigarettes hanging out their car windows. It takes a particular kind of stupid to act in such an irresponsible manner in a forest town that is not particularly known for its humidity, and in which the fire danger is more often high than low. And if you suggest that people stop burning their leaves, even though they have access to yard waste pickup right in front of their own houses on a biweekly basis, some of them scream about their individual rights and the dangers of tree-huggers, usually accompanied by frantic wavings of the American flag and projectile spit.
If you live in a fire area, smoke with your car windows closed, please.