As the ‘Rim Fire’ in California burns into Yosemite National Park, I understand that precautions are being taken to protect two grove of giant Sequoia. What a shame it would be to lose these giant sentinels to time and endurance.
Here on the shores of Lake Tahoe we are caught in the fall out of this fire. SMOKE. For the past five days now the entire area has been shrouded in the eerie haze blowing up from the south west. It’s covering our landscape in a thick blanket than has visibility down to a minimum and completely obliterated the normal clean pine scent.
I woke up at about 2 AM with its thick stink clinging in my nostrils and that acid taste coating my tongue. My throat hurts and my eyes sting. I’m beginning to get a headache and I can’t seem to fall back to sleep. Earlier in the week I spent some time down in the valley (Reno and Carson City) and it was worse down there as the cloud had settled in like an unwelcome blanket.
The last few days I’ve been praying for it to rain and the wind to change, so that the air quality might improve. Early this morning in my Internet search for news about the fire, I learned that it is so large its creating a weather system of its own. The news agency claimed that there are over two thousand firefighters and a dozen aircraft currently battling the blaze and yet it remains only about 5% contained. The citizens of San Francisco fear for their water supply and power grid and the inferno creeps steadily toward their largest source of drinking water and hydro plants.
Previously, when I enjoyed the beaches of the Caribbean or lived among the Intermountain West of the Rockies, I took it as a fact of life that portions of California quite literally went up in smoke every summer. This year living out a different dream, on the blue waters of Tahoe amid the wonder of the Sierras, those fires are an unfortunate reality that is taking a toll on both my lungs and patience. And yet, complain as I might, along with a lot of sneezing, coughing, and sputtering neither I nor my possessions are at threat of anything but smelling like a campfire for the next several weeks.
So, I guess the choice is to ride it out and hope for the best or pack up and take an extended trip toward clearer air. Since a trip is out of the question, I guess I’ll continue to cough, sneeze and complain, but I may begin to do it behind a surgical mask.