Saturday, October 26, 2019

Autumn Smoke

I remember autumns in my childhood when the whole neighborhood was smoky because we and our neighbors would rake up the leaves that had fallen from the trees and (after some fun jumping in the piles of leaves) would get rid of them by burning them. That ended after a while because there was concern for air quality, so the leaves were raked to the road and the county came around with trucks which had a hose for sucking them up and taking them to the landfill. Here in the North Bay we never had that and leaves could be bagged up and taken to the compost area of the dump, but we never burned them. Times have changed...we have autumn smoke now. For the third year in a row we have autumn smoke but this time it's not from gathered leaves, but due to wildfires and structure fires.

A couple of days ago a major fire started near Geyserville, about 30 miles north of here. Due to winds coming from the east, it quickly grew and doubled in size in less than 24 hours. Although the fire itself moved toward the north, we are getting the smoke. My heart goes out not only to the Geyserville folks who are at risk and have lost homes and vineyards, but to the residents of Santa Rosa. Many of them were evacuated, lost homes, lost lives and everything really in the Tubbs fire that also roared out of nowhere during an event with strong winds from the east. It's been two years since that terrible time and many are just now getting into their rebuilt homes. How scary to know that it can happen again.

Today our local power company will be shutting off power to most of our area because a similar wind event, coming from the eastern land mass, so hot and dry, will be gusting to 80 miles per hour. We've learned to be flexible since plans made often get canceled due to smoky air and/or no power. Our power will be out this time, but we are relatively safe from harm being in the western part of the county (and being next to a fire station I guess). Sweetie says it will be camping out at home. We have a generator for the well and a small one for keeping things in the fridge cold. I have a strong LED lantern and some good books.

Please send good thoughts to our Sonoma County friends and neighbors who are dealing with loss of power, extra smoke in the air, loss of business and wages (and school during the work week), fear of the next thing. This is the new normal for us. Power again sometime Monday if we are lucky.

Yes, we have a go bag ready, just in case...

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