Right on cue, Northern California has plunged back into wildfire hell.
This time two years ago, the Tubbs Fire was ripping through Santa Rosa and other communities north of San Francisco, killing 22 and destroying 5,000 homes.
Fanned by winds of up to 80 mph, the Kincade Fire tore through the landscape, consuming 22,000 acres so far.
Welcome to what fire historian Steve Pyne calls the Pyrocene, a unique time in history when human use of fire, particularly the burning of fossil fuels, and the attendant climate change combine to create hell on Earth.
There’s good reason that, for the past three years, Northern California has seen particularly massive, fast-moving wildfires tear through communities.
Every autumn, winds blow in from the northeast, heating up and picking up speed as they descend through mountain valleys.