i studied for my PhD in austin, texas and spent several months at the mcdonald observatory in west texas. i saw many beautiful thunderstorms and even some smoke plumes during my observing stints, but never did a full-fledged wildfire threaten the safety of people nearby.
that all changed several days ago when a devastating wildfire blasted through the nearby town of ft. davis. the observatory shared this incredible photo:
shown is the 107-inch telescope, the one i've used for a cumulative 4 months or so, as viewed from the catwalk of the 82-inch telescope that was built in the 1930s!
as of now, the observatory is safe, but here is a link for info on the current texas wildfire situation. best wishes to all!
the NY Times posted an article with the images below included: