In the afternoon the sky grew amber and shaded, and in the late afternoon thunder rolled through the clouds to the south. The fires already were close enough that the ash falling from the sky was only charred, intact pine needles that hadn’t disintegrated completely to carbon. But the clouds still rumbled in the heat, the dogs in the valley bellowed and growled, the people looked to the sky and said, “Please don’t.” The sun through the haze, large and candescent, casting long, hot shadows in a very early twilight.

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