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August 14, 2020

Yesterday, while driving on the 210 Freeway, Jacqueline called to tell me she could see a fire in the foothills. “There’s a lot of smoke!” And she could see the flames. I hustled outside to see a high billowy plume of dark smoke east of us – somewhere near Glendora, Azusa, and Duarte.

It was approaching late afternoon. Not a good feeling because it meant firefighters would be working into the night. We’ve lived in the foothills over 30 years and fire season is dangerous, especially if the winds are blowing. And winds were blowing yesterday. By 8:00 p.m. last night the “Ranch Fire” in Azusa had spread to 3,000 acres.

When I woke up this morning, I opened the back door to the smell of smoke and ashes in the patio. The rising sun was a bright burnt orange, no pun intended. The fire had spread into the Angeles National Forest. Lucky for residents, evacuation orders were lifted, and they were able to return to their homes. Hopefully, there will be containment today.

I will never forget the fast-moving fires that raged through the hills above our town many years ago. I couldn’t sleep as I watched the flames from my bedroom window moving along the mountain ridge. Fortunately, we didn’t have to evacuate, and Louie didn’t have to be awakened from his dreams.

My thoughts quickly jumped to Americans’ fight to control Covid-19, that -- like wildfire -- is spreading out of control across the country. If we can’t put it out, all, that is, lives, will be lost.

We still have a chance to turn Covid around before fall -- but it’s a slim one. Could the fire in the foothills be a Covid wake-up call?

Mask + Social Distance = Lives saved.

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