We were very near the fires - some damage occured maybe a 10 minute drive away. The air was very bad and we had to stay indoors - I have asthma, so it was really bad for me. I realized that even driving in the car - the bad air gets in. The kids were going nuts - having to stay inside with not enough to do. The painter's masks we got did little good. I did drop the kids off at the movies. I don't know anyone personally who was affected, but some people at my older boy's school and some friends of friends and relatives of friends. Some people in the home church where we go live in Santee - very near the fires. They told us the fires were coming at them from two sides and they were all packed to evacuate - and then the fire split and went around them and they didn't need to leave. I guess this is a lesson for us. That the Lord will keep us and protect us through the floods and fires - if that is his purpose. I believe the crisis on the East coast and crisis on the West Coast - probably stuff in between too, are a sign of God's judgement. We wonder why the wicked prosper and seem to be untouched - but soon they will be no more - and that without remedy. Those he loves he chastises and prunes so that we will be useful. I can hear the power saws while I write this - we called a guy to trim a tree - he suggested we just cut it down and replace it. It is a huge willow tree and this is dry desert California. It provided shade, but it makes a mess with the leaves and the roots are growing under our patio to search for water - lifting the patio up - if it kept going, years later it could damage our house foundation. At first the guy thought he could put a pipe in to supply water so the roots would grow straight down and not migrate in all directions causing the damage - but he said it was not a healthy tree anyway - it had grown too large - so down it comes. Then we can decide what kind of tree we want - one that does not use tons of water and doesn't drop leaves so bad and put it somewhere else - a place to provide shade for the house, but not directly over the patio. However, without the advice of someone who knows trees, we would be unaware and would let the damage continue - here trimming the tree would have been useless - it has to come down. So, is there a spiritual application here?