Despite the anti-smoking laws that prevent Californians from smoking in almost any commercial establishment, Los Angeles is covered in smoke this afternoon. It's giving me a terrible headache, and making a lot of people sick. What's worse, however, is that hundreds of homes in the Greater Los Angeles Area have already burned to the ground, and the "firestorms" aren't under control yet. Worst of all (for Southern Californians) is that dozens of sections of freeway are closed, and much of the city has ground to a standstill. Even in West LA (which is a good 50 miles from the nearest fire) traffic is crawling and the air is thick with smoke.
The past few years have seen some of the worst brush fires that I can remember, largely due to a shortage of Fall rain, I think. I've heard rumors that environmentalists have been complaining about the controlled burns that are often used to keep the brush to acceptable levels, but I don't know if such claims can be substantiated.
Here are some pictures from FoxNews.