Thanks to all the well-wishers during the Crown Fire. The fire line wound up coming very close to the aqueduct near my house, but firefighters stopped its advance just shy of the structures there (including two houses where people who work at firm live; they were evacuated for a night). My house was about two and a half miles away from that point, which is as close as the fire ever got.
Some buildings were destroyed, including some ranches, so there are those whose dreams and savings went up in flames. Also, two parks and a nature preserve were razed. No human beings were seriously injured and even the wildlife casualties were low. But no one I know was hurt and actually very few man-made structures were destroyed by the fire other than the ranch buildings. Even some residences that, by all rights, should have been torched wound up surviving (more importantly, along with all their occupants) thanks to the diligent, difficult, and dangerous work done by emergency responders including firefighters, police, and paramedics.
So while the fire was unquestionably bad news, it could have been a lot worse than it was. A friend of a friend took a spectacular picture of the fire at its peak, and I'm awaiting her permission to post it here. Watch this post for updates.