Less encouraging is the news from the fire zone in Shasta County. The fire has now consumed upwards of 100,000 acres, and about 800 houses. It has become the eight most destructive wildfire in California history, and is only 20% contained. There have been six confirmed deaths. The thing that has kept the death toll far below the 44 killed in last year's wine country fires is that Shasta County is much more thinly settled than are Napa and Sonoma Counties, and the fact that this fire has moved a bit slower, thus catching fewer people by surprise.
The smell of smoke is still in the air here, and the sun and moon still rise and set a vivid shade of red. The haze still obliterates distance, and dry oak leaves continue to drift down even when the air is still. The feral cats keep to the shade all day, the crows squawk in the mornings, the hummingbirds swoop through afternoon, and the woodpeckers chatter at nightfall. We are just waiting patiently for our turn.