This is the same fire that was about 3/4 of a mile from our home on Sunday. It's called the Santiago Fire, but our newscasters are now calling it the Modjeska Fire, since the wind shifted this morning and the fire has begun moving north into Modjeska Canyon, a very rural area directly east of our home by about 4-5 miles. It's a 10+ mile long canyon and so far it's burning at the further (southeasterly) end. It's mostly vegetation with some small and large homes spotted throughout, but because of the steep terrain there and the heat of the fire, the firefighters have mostly pulled out and are having to let it burn. Hundreds of homes will be lost. And likely thousands of domestic animals. It's a haven for horses.
The homes you see in the photo are a new group of subdivisions called Foothill Ranch. That's not the Canyon - it goes off to the right. All the homes in Foothill Ranch have been evacuated.
Our daughter in San Diego (and her family) were evacuated yesterday very early morning. So far their home is okay, but they can't return yet. San Diego has the worst of the fires, I think. Over 1400 homes have burned to date, and the fire is completely out of control. Southern California is known for its hills and small valleys and gullies. Usually homes aren't built in the gullies, so if a fire gets started, the wind can carry the embers from one gully and valley to another in nothing flat.
This is an enhanced satellite view of Southern California, showing the fires. The top one is Canyon Country, about 40 some miles north of Los Angeles. The one dot at the ocean is Malibu. The group inland from Malibu is Lake Arrowhead. Below that is our Santiago/Modjeska fire. The one below that is at Camp Pendleton in very north San Diego County. The bottom two groups are in the San Diego area. They're by far the biggest fires and the most dangerous to human life. Our TV is saying there are still 10 major fires burning in So. California. You can see how the winds carry the smoke out to sea, but the fires also spread that way. The Santa Ana winds, that were gusting from 40-60 mph have reduced to probably less than 10 now, so that's good. Fires won't spread as rapidly, but the dry brush gives them lots of fuel to burn.
(photos from the Orange County Register.)