Life in Southern California right now makes it impossible for me to ignore the wildfires that national and world news are also reporting. Beginning this past weekend and daily now the sun has only rarely broken through the smoke blanket covering our skies at higher altitudes. Earlier this week there was a darkness when I looked outside which was unusual.
Gazing out my windows in daytime now the air can seem clear at ground level but generally there’s a slight haze present. Local news tells us microscopic lung-damaging particles permeate our air. They are not filtered out when we breathe even with the masks we wear to protect us from Covid-19, so we’re told to stay indoors.
Last week forest wildfires erupted in the mountains many miles east and west of where I live during our record setting high temperatures. Fires causes are reported in one instance to be accidental as a consequence of an ill-advised gender reveal event; another due to arson. At least one small town is gone, other homes have been incinerated and lives have been lost with threats of more losses continuing.
Some residents in our city, perhaps in fringe wooded areas, reported receiving alerts to prepare for possible evacuation though they were not threatened nor is our city. Some local areas experienced a rain of ashes but I’ve seen none where I live below the foothills.
We’re sandwiched between two only slightly partially or uncontained wildfires but great distances apart with no likelihood they will join together. The San Bernardino Mountains wildfire named the El Dorado is many miles east of here with many cities in between. West of here, but closer is the Bobcat wildfire in the Los Angeles National Forest, also separated by many cities. Fortunately, the unpredictable treacherous Santa Ana winds have not whipped up in late afternoon, evening or night to completely alter the fire’s direction and volatility as can occur. Regardless, my city and I remain quite safe.
News accounts and photos of Northern California, smoke-filled orange and blood-red darkened San Francisco fires are awesome to view in photos but are indicators of the devastation that is occurring elsewhere. Oregon is experiencing incredible losses with dangers continuing. Smoke is coming our way from those areas and now heads east with reports of being present as far as midwest Great Lakes state Ohio.
This climate change so many choose to deny or even recognize as a need to address is only just getting started. Future years will be no less better and are expected only to worsen.
Will we humans accept our responsibility for how we’ve corrupted our environment, continue to do so, and undertake to correct our planet’s self-destruction – if not for ourselves, at least for our children, grandchildren and future generations? May all reading this remain safe, staying healthy as I am.