A Letter From Napa Valley, Where Love Burns Hotter Than Fire

A Writer Reflects on Fleeing Northern California's Glass Fire, the Written History She Lost to the Blaze, and the Relationships That Sustain Her

I nearly died last week, which is how I realized: All of my stories are about love.

It was about 3 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 27, and my husband Tom and I were asleep. My nose twitched and I thought, How odd to smell something burning. I assumed I was dreaming and kept my eyes closed.

Then I heard the wind through the open bedroom window: Whooooooosh, whoooooosh, whoooooosh!

I immediately opened my eyes—a burning scent and a boisterous wind do not a good combination make. I looked out the …

In Chaotic Times, California Offers Leadership | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

In Chaotic Times, California Offers Leadership

After a Century of Earthquakes, Fires, Booms, and Busts, We Are the Masters of Disaster

America, I see you flailing—and failing—to respond to this pandemic. Why don’t you just let California handle it?

No joke. In normal times, you’d be wise to avoid letting Californians run …

How PG&E Has Unified a Divided California | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

How PG&E Has Unified a Divided California

The Utility’s Failures Are Forcing the Golden State to Acknowledge a Crisis in Both Climate and Democracy

Thank you, PG&E.

I felt moved to write this thank-you note because so many of your 16 million California customers have been so ungrateful. No corporation in this state has done …

How Fireworks Helped Spark a Scientific Revolution

The Shock and Awe of Pyrotechnic Displays Boosted Understanding of the Natural World

Night falls. A crowd assembles. A kaleidoscope of exploding colors and noise entertains us to the sound of oohs and aahs. All around the world, throughout the year, fireworks dazzle, …

L.A. County Fire Captain Drew Smith

Sorry to Disappoint, But We’re Not Having As Much Fun in the Firehouse As You Think

Captain Drew Smith has been with the Los Angeles County Fire Department since 1988. Before participating in a panel on L.A. and the Santa Ana Winds—he’s fought Santa Ana-driven fires …

L.A.’s Dread Winds of Autumn

The Santa Anas Keep Blowing Our Minds

You know them when you feel them, or when you hear them blowing through the trees. They’ve cut out your power or even threatened your home. And you can quote …