I took this a week ago, around 4pm on the 210 freeway, in Upland. The smoke is from the Triangle Complex fire which started in Santa Ana Canyon just outside of Corona and spread to the Chino Hills and Diamond Bar. Hundreds of homes were lost and debris landed in our garden that had traveled at least ten miles.
Brushfires have a distinctive smell. You learn that smell as a child and when you step outside on a windy day the scent makes your heart speed up, causes a little fear even among those whose houses are safe, but imagine what that first whiff does to the heart rate of people living in canyons and on hillsides.
The Santa Anas are strong winds that spring up when the valleys have a few days in a row that are a little warmer, after a few colder days. The winds dry out the air and a small grassfire that would easily be put out on a calmer day will race to become a wall of flame, climbing into the trees and leaping across roads and freeways.
The fires are out for now but brushfire season is all year now because of the changing climate. More Santa Ana winds predicted soon.