Coming home from work, I could clearly see flames on the mountainside even from the highway several miles away. I raced out of my house up an nearby hill and joined several other people watching the enormous rust-colored smoke clouds drift over the city. We were pointing out helicopters and speculating which areas of the city were most vulnerable. Within half an hour, the mountains all but disappeared behind haze. People started coughing, my eyes watered, and the campfire smell was everywhere. At that point, we decided to head inside and start packing the essentials.