There is nothing anyone can do to change it, to stop it. We can fight it, and the fire fighters do so with skill, daring, courage and a danger to themselves, but still, it chews the dry brush into a soft ash.
Lightning starts most of them. The drought to hurts and so does an ill wind called Santa Ana or Chinook or other local names. It flows quickly from the mountain tops and reminds us of our vulnerability. The tears of loss and smiles of safety on the same face parallel our conflict and appreciation of nature.
The stories of neighbor helping neighbor, confirm our desire for community. There are hundreds of stories not only of crushing flames and charred places, but stories of hopes and wishes shattered dreams and shock.
In times of such destruction, values change rapidly. The acquired stuff of daily living is no match for the loss of a treasured family picture or the ache of not knowing if a pet survived.
There is never a quick end to tragedy. No easy answers to the wailed questions of why and no relief when cries have run out of tears.
It is not possible to hold each hand of so many so hurting from these fires. All we can do, in this human family, is to be aware and to care. There is something powerful in that, and it heals.