Those aren’t clouds. That’s smoke from the wildfires in Ventura County, photographed yesterday from my Southwest flight from Oakland to LAX. You could smell the smoke in the cabin.
“Don’t be alarmed,” said the captain over the loudspeaker, “if you smell something that smells like a camp fire.”
In the photo below, you can see the smoke hanging over Los Angeles.
The hotel where I always stay when I’m in town isn’t far from where the Skirball fire, still not contained. I used to go to shul up there when I was an undergrad and grad student. My alma mater U.C.L.A., also not far from there, has cancelled classes today.
In my hotel room this morning, you can smell and taste the smoke and my throat is scratchy, my eyes and nose irritated and itchy. I’m 100 percent safe where I am but the fires continue to rage not far from here.
Will this year of natural disasters — this annus horriblis — come to an end?
Hurricane arvey, the wine country wildfires, the Mexico City earthquake, Charlottesville, and now the LA fires… It seems like 2017 has been a revolving door of natural and human tragedy and catastrophe.
G-d bless Southern California. G-d bless us all… Please stay safe.