Sunday, June 29, 2008



We are just hanging out-- waiting for the smoke to clear…. It is summer, 2008 and the state of California is on fire! Californians are no strangers to the abundance of forest fires but this year it is the most intense *fire season* ever due to the dry spring conditions coupled with repeated high winds. The dry lightning in June ignited the land that sat thirsty and waiting for the rain that did not come.

The smoke has been covering the state of California for about a week now with over 1000 fires burning at one time, statewide. It hangs like a thick fog over valleys blocking sunshine that cannot burn through. The air is heavy and the effort of breathing has become a major health concern as we try to stay indoors and refrain from exerting ourselves. Windows shut and air-conditioners on despite the unusually cool temperatures.

Smoke has now become a main topic of the evening news weather report!

Weather is what started the fire and the fire now controls the weather. Breezes come and start to clear the smoke away, but there is so much that it really only blows it around and the excitement of seeing a small piece of blue sky is soon dashed as the sun fades back into the hazed over orange glow that once heated the earth.

25 years of being a cigarette smoker comes back to haunt me as the effort of breathing takes its toll. There is no escape because of the widespread problem and I remind myself of the risks that our firefighters face as they valiantly fight the blazes that seem to pop up everywhere. Eyes burning and the fatigue that accompanies poor air quality are shared by all, the risks to health increasing with each day the Smokey conditions continue.

The 4th of July is a week away and I am hoping that the customary fireworks displays will not add to our dilemma…

June - outdoor summertime fun, campfires, daily exercise and easy breathing… I wonder how long it will be that we, once again, take these things for granted…

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