I suspect something burning within a few dozen miles, hopefully on the far side of the Feather River. It would be very bad if the town had to be evacuated right now, and having the air filled with dense smoke would be almost as bad. The cat is in no condition to be moved, and neither are the old people. My mom has already been having trouble breathing during the hot weather and would be in serious danger from a heavy smoke of the sort we've had here during some big brush fires in earlier years. But I have the feeling that the summer from hell might be about to get worse.
We're more that two hours from early light, and only with morning will it be possible to tell which horizon is obscured—unless the fire is close and drawing closer, in which case it might reveal itself sooner by a red glow. For now all I can do is sit and wait and inhale the smoky residue of whatever is now being destroyed. This summer just bites.
Update: Morning has brought no clarity—literally. There is smoke in every direction. Still, I've found the most likely source of the smoke: it's a fire a few dozen miles northeast of here in the Plumas National Forest, and it goes by the euphonious name Moonlight Fire. It's been growing since Monday afternoon, and has been heading away from us for most of that time. The local Foehn wind must have developed overnight and brought the smoke plume to us, hugging the ground all the way. Such winds usually reverse by day, so there's probably nothing for the town to fear from this fire other than slow suffocation. I'll find it hard to sleep today with the air so thick.