I first noticed the Station Fire on Thursday night, when a friend and I were driving east, towards downtown, along the 10 freeway. As we neared downtown, we could see the glow of fires that looked close to the Hollywood Sign; in the dark, we had no sense of depth and only realized that the fires were further back when we turned on the radio.
The Station Fire is nothing like I can quite compare to insofar as the size and scope of it eclipses even the Oakland Hills Fire of 1991 that I witnessed from a Berkeley dorm. The Station Fire has so far not been as deadly or destructive - and hopefully that will stay that way - but its impact on the Southland is visually felt anytime you look East.
Basically, the ferocity of the Fire is creating what's known as pyroculumus clouds; it's nature's variation on the mushroom cloud created by an atomic or nuclear detonation. What is so striking is that the last few days have had surprisingly blue, cloudless skies everywhere else except over the fire zone and there, you can see this thick, gray haze spreading across the horizon with the billowing pyrocumulus clouds punching their way skyward past them.