The Real California; Its not always sunny

Today is the first day of a long cold Pacific Northwest fall and winter. The day never feels like it goes past 9am. Water seems to fall gently from the sky for 6 months straight. Emerald patches of moss cover the steeps and sidewalks. When the rain turns into mist, a walk through the woods gives you a chance to enjoy the fall colors.

Growing up is southern California we knew it was fall when the winds changed and the hot Santa Ana winds would whip up wildfires across the state. You would get this sense of a post-apocalyptic world creeping into our quite lives. We would be on high alert at all times. This is also about the time we question our preparedness in case of an emergency. I remember making a mental list of what I would grab if we had to evacuate. Fire management was always a hot topic at the state park family fish fry. Retied park rangers and lifeguards would recant the stories of wildfires of past seasons. Evacuating campers and digging fire breaks as the flames started to lick their boots.  Sunsets during a big fire are eerie and beautiful. You feel bad for enjoying it. Finally when you think the state will never stop burning, the wind changes. Your first cold calm day of winter has arrived! This is only a short-lived calm. Now comes the winter storms, which leads to the winter landslides and flooding.

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Alameda County Firefighter cools down hot spots in front of a residence leveled by Loma fire near Morgan Hill, Calif Noah Berger/ AP

After Record Heat, California Fires Burn Into The Fall : The Two-Way : NPR

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