It is bizarre to wake up and see a red ball on the sky which you can stare at without it hurting your eyes. It is the famous California sun which is covered by a thick layer of smoke. With a quick look it looks like any other winter morning at the San Francisco Bay Area; grey and foggy. Except that this time it is not fog. And you will notice that when you open the door. You can smell the smoke and it will make you cough. Later in the evening the eyes get itchy and the head ache sets in. Not the greatest experience!
This is the second time after I have moved to California that we live surrounded by the smoke. The first time was last year, when the smoke from destructive fires at Napa County and Santa Rosa came to our way. At the moment there are fires at the both ends of the state, and the smoke over here is coming from the north, from the Butte County. The fire is called Camp Fire and after destroying a whole town; Paradise, it is still moving along. There were over 26 000 people living in Paradise. About 6500 homes have been destroyed and at least 23 people have died. Hundreds are still missing. And as long as the Santa Ana winds are spreading the fire, there seems to be no end to this.
On Saturday I put a mask on and left to a grocery shopping. The whole neighborhood was quiet since no one was out, and everything looked grey. The kids haven’t been outside in three days now since even the school kept them inside for Friday. And you can only imaging all the energy in kids when they don’t get to go outside. I keep making plans for the day and then remember that I wasn’t suppose to go outside. People have been warned not to exercise outside and also to wear N95 masks. When I moved from Finland I could have never thought that someday I can’t go outside because of the bad air quality. It really makes you look at the things from another perspective.
Even though the wild fires have affected our lives, we are still thankful that we still have our home and each others. Our experiences of course don’t compare to the devastation that has hit people who lost their homes or loved ones. I have also seen many articles about people letting their horses loose since they just didn’t have to find trailers and take them with them. Also many pets were left behind. The fastest the fire was moving was an 80 football fields in a minute. Yes, that is insane!
Even though the sun sets are the most beautiful now and as red as they will ever be, every night I hope that the smoke and the fires are gone when I wake up!