Southern Californians don’t like to wake up to hot weather. It’s a sign of the short and eerie autumn season that’s marked by the influence of the Santa Anas—dry winds that come from the desert, dervish through the canyons, and head for the sea. People blame the Santa Anas for their headaches and their allergies....
The defiant mood of the mountains was more muted at the beach. Scotty Brown, a local real-estate agent, stood in front of his office, at the end of Malibu Road, looking up at the ruins of the castle. “That was my listing,” he said glumly. It had been on the market for seventeen million dollars. Only the guesthouse was still standing.
Smoke in the air makes for extra-beautiful sunsets. The sky purpled to the color of a mussel shell, then turned a muzzy black. The Compton sheriff’s deputies, called in to help guard blocked roads, dined on food donated by Nobu Malibu. At nine o’clock, the thermometer read ninety-one degrees. By the next night, the Canyon Fire, as it was called, had been contained, and the command center had released a number of firefighters and support crews to points south.
She then headed for the Witch Fire down south.