Smoke and More Smoke

It’s hard to write about.  It’s easy to fall into a whinny despair.  After a couple of days of reprieve  the air quality has moved well into hazardous.  I can smell the smoke inside the house.  The garden smells like a campfire and the sun is blocked.

A half mile from my office window is a mountain.  It’s been shrouded in haze.  At times I can’t see it anymore.  Sometimes the afternoon wind blows enough away that I can see the hiking trials Heather and I walked last winter.  Before the smoke, you could see people hiking and riding their bicycles.

I don’t see them today.  Perhaps they’re like me – inside, looking out, hoping for life to return to normal.

Daily life is looking out the window, checking for the current air quality (AQI), checking the weather report, and checking the news on the fires.  If the AQI is low enough, going into the garden is possible and the kitties can be given sometime out on their catio.

The KN95 masks I managed to buy for Covid protection have proven effective against the smoke.  If the air is a little smokey, but not too smokey, the KN95 lets us be outside for a little while.  Watering plants, weeding or planting the wine barrel on the back patio.  I used to wait to put my mask on until I got the door of the grocery store.  Now I put it on before I open the car door.

I have just enough sinus problems that the smoke can bother me.  Two weeks ago I thought it would be good to buy an air purifier.  I found one on-line and ordered it.  It was a defective unit and after a phone call the manufacturer agreed to ship out a replacement.  Hopefully that will arrive soon.  

Yesterday, we went to the local Home Depot to pick up the flooring I ordered for my workshop shed.  While I was waiting for my order to be brought out, I noticed a man with a shopping cart with four air purifiers.  On our way to look at some shelves, we saw two pallets full of air purifiers.  Some how HD managed to get a bunch, so we bought one.  It helps and so far I try to stay near it.

The smoke is being blown into the Reno basin from over a million acres of western forest that is currently burning.  Seriously, at a million acres and more are burning.  Most of the smoke we’re getting is coming from the recently started Caldor fire and the Dixie fire which started on July 4th.  Smaller fires like the River, Tamarack and Beckwourth also send smoke and ash.

When will it end?

That’s the question on all our minds.  Who really knows?  This year it will end with the rains and snows of winter.  The firefighters will get containment and as the fire lines start holding, the smoke will reduce before that.  Sadly, the fires will return next year.

As the smoke clears and the roads open, we’ll finally get to see the devastation left behind.  Thousands of buildings have been destroyed and thousands of people are now homeless.  Lives and memories shattered.  Heather and I have already sent a donation for emergency relief.

Looking out at my smoky mountain, all I can think is, “At least I still have a house.”

About Andrew Reynolds

Born in California Did the school thing studying electronics, computers, release engineering and literary criticism. I worked in the high tech world doing software release engineering and am now retired. Then I got prostate cancer. Now I am a blogger and work in my wood shop doing scroll saw work and marquetry.
This entry was posted in General and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

41 Responses to Smoke and More Smoke

  1. So sad. So hard. So sorry. :/

    Liked by 1 person

  2. mitchteemley says:

    Awful to have to go through this, Andrew. Praying for you and the many others who are being impacted by the fires.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Over a million acres. That’s just mind-boggling. And horrifying.

    I’m sure it doesn’t make you feel any better, but you’re not alone. We have over 2,000,000 acres currently burning just in our province. According to recent reports, ten of B.C.’s cities just achieved the dubious honour of “Top 10 cities with the worst air quality in the world”. But at least we’ve had some cooler weather and a bit of rain, so the fire crews are finally making some progress.

    Hubby and I are so thankful to be on the west coast, where the prevailing westerly winds keep our air clear most of the time. We have about 300 acres burning here on the Island, but the fires are being held, so far. Hoping for rain…

    Liked by 2 people

    • We’ve lost a lot of forest here in the west. We could use a little rain here. I just checked the status of the two big fires near us and looks like they’re making progress as the containment numbers are increasing.

      Also the air quality is slightly better, down from extremely hazardous to merely very, very unhealthy.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Makes my heart hurt for all of those who have lost so much in the fires and now in the flooding in Tennessee. And those firefighters must be exhausted. I would have a very difficult time with smoke living in the ‘smoke zone’ as any kind of smoke affects me negatively. Glad you found an air purifier and those N95s work well for you.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I almost pulled the trigger on some air purifiers, but stopped with MERV14 filters for the HVAC. We’ve seen almost blue skies for a couple of days but they say the smoke will return. If our downstream smoke was irritating me here, I can’t even imagine what you must be dealing with. Hope your air purifier helps. My DIL says the two she got for their house a mile from here have really helped.

    I think about those poor firefighters in Calif., risking their lives day after day doing a dangerous, exhausting job against what must seem like unstoppable flames. Unimaginable, but they keep fighting. Bless ’em all.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Dave says:

    I think of the Sierra Nevadas as a big wall protecting Reno and points east from whatever goes on in California. Obviously that’s not the case, any more than the Rockies can protect eastern Colorado. Your description of your outdoor conditions reminds me of ours when we dealt with the Hayman fire in the Rockies many years ago. With that one we could almost see the flames and were just short of evacuating when they got it under control. Hang in there, Andrew.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Baydreamer says:

    This new fire season is horrible, tragic, and frightening. I think it began in October 2017, or at least that is one vivid memory. We went to a 50th party Saturday night and Sunday night the fires began in the North Bay and Wine country. We’re fine where we live, but now we would like to move out of CA in retirement in 304 years. But where to go? We love Oregon and Colorado, but these states have burned too. Fires have raged all over the country and other parts of the world.
    I’m glad the air purifiers are helping you and glad you have your home. Stay safe…

    Liked by 2 people

  8. jfwknifton says:

    Our hearts go out to the people affected. I’m sure that some of the countries that you have helped so much over the years, our selves included, will want to help when the time comes.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. My heart goes out to you and all affected. :/

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Debra says:

    It’s truly distressing, Andrew. I am deeply saddened by all that I read about these many fires. We’ve been spared in Southern California (so far) and that’s a blessing and very untypical. But we all know that fire season is now 12-months of the year in most of the state. I hope your air quality improves, although it’s hard to imagine how. 😦

    Liked by 2 people

    • And fires of this size are the new normal. Sigh … I hope the fires don’t start in your area this year.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Debra says:

        I read an article this morning on the fires and Lake Tahoe…I thought of what you’re breathing! I’m so sad about it all! And it is the new expected. Isn’t that atrocious!

        Liked by 1 person

        • It’s been bad and the new normal. We’ve had smokey skies here since July 4 and no end in sight. Our big fear right now is that they don’t hold the line at Twin Bridges and it breaks in the the Tahoe basin. Life will be bad if that happens.


  11. Ouk-Yean Kim Jueng says:

    I am so sorry, Andrew and Heather about the air condition in your area. The fire situation seems to get worse each year, and truly, it’s heartbreaking to think about all the losses and sufferings of people as well as the nature…

    Mary Ann told me this morning that you would be in town this Wednesday. Hopefully, it can give you a little break from the smoke. Though the air quality in the Bay area also has been impacted by the fires, it’s nothing like what you have in your area.

    By the way, Mary Ann told me that you didn’t have a positive experience of visiting a church there. I am so sorry about it and hope that you will eventually find a right church home.

    In the midst of the growing concerns about the possibility of another Covid surge due to the delta varient, we continue our in-person worship service. Though the numbers are not that great, yet, it’s wonderful to see some of our members in person 🙂



    On Sun, Aug 22, 2021, 5:13 PM Andrew’s View of the Week wrote:

    > Andrew Reynolds posted: ” It’s hard to write about. It’s easy to fall > into a whinny despair. After a couple of days of reprieve the air quality > has moved well into hazardous. I can smell the smoke inside the house. > The garden smells like a campfire a” >

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Flojo says:

    Oh, Andrew, you sound so sad. I’m sorry. You probably thought it would be better outside California.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. VirgSpeaks says:

    I’m so sorry to learn what your area is experiencing. I had no idea since I don’t usually watch the news. I didn’t realize it is something that happens every year. Thank you for sharing. Prayers and I will check out where to send a donation.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. A heavy sigh with no words.
    Except thank-you for describing the reality there.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. davidprosser says:

    I’m just glad you’re both safe and hope the rains come a little sooner and get a hold on it..

    Liked by 1 person

  16. floridaborne says:

    I was just looking at
    It is quite humbling to see how much has burned and is burning.

    Liked by 3 people

Comments are closed.