The massive Witch Fire in San Diego County sprawled over nearly 200,000 acres of Southern California, reaching from the Cleveland National Forest in the east to beyond Interstate 15 in the west. This image from the commercial Quickbird satellite shows the heart of the fire on October 22, 2007. The scene is centered just north of Lake Sutherland, in the mountains northeast of the city of Ramona. Much of the terrain in the area is national forest or Native American Indian reservations. Large smoke plumes spread west from the burning ridgelines, suggesting that Santa Ana winds were gusting across the landscape toward the Pacific.
Driven by Santa Ana winds, several large wildfires flared across Southern California over the weekend of October 20, 2007. Before winds died down late in the week, the fires burned hundreds of thousands of acres and forced at least half a million people from their homes. Smoke caused unhealthy air quality in many areas.