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Tuesday travails from California to Cataluña: wine country wild fires; and an impending declaration

SAN FRANCISCO – Thank you for the many notes from Dear Readers who are seeing the news reports of the horrific California wildfires (and not just in the Bay Area, but also in SoCal's Anaheim area). Here in SF's Marina District this (Tuesday) morning, the smokey smell is again strong, indeed much stronger than yesterday. The morning air is noticeably hazy, the sunrise subdued by the smoke. No wonder, given the northerly wind that has been sweeping the smoke from the Santa Rosa area down through the North Bay (where apparently it is VERY smokey this morning) and into the City per the screen grab below.

At least in SF City we are safe, as are our family and friends down in San Diego. But we are hearing reports by the hour of friends both in wine country and in SoCal's Anaheim area in Orange County affected by the wild fires one way or another, from evacuation (themselves or their horses or both), to having lost their houses, cars and property – in some cases their vineyards. Even vineyards that have not burned may lose their grape crop this season as the heavy smoke can ruin their taste.

This morning authorities have reported 10 deaths and over 100 people missing in the wine-country fire area. Hopefully those missing are just unable to contact that their friends and family as, reportedly, 100,000 people are without power. At least the winds have died down in NorCal. SoCal is another issue. Again, thanks for your concern. After the severe earthquakes in Mexico, the wildfires in the Pacific Northwest, the horrible hurricanes in Caribbean and Gulf Coast, and now the California wildfires, I think we're due for a break from severe weather events.

In Spain today there's another dangerous storm building, this one not weather-related. Reportedly, tonight the Comunidad de Cataluña – Barcelona and surrounds – is going to declare independence from the Kingdom of Spain after the referendum a couple weeks back that overwhelmingly voted for going it alone. Madrid is not taking any of this lightly; the central government is threatening to send in Spanish troops to try to take control of the situation and arrest the Catalan leaders. We have sailing friends strongly supporting both sides, and whichever way this goes, here's hoping it goes peacefully.

In recent days there have been massive protests in Barcelona on both sides of the issue – pro independence, and pro Spain as above, This is not just another Brexit.

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