Saturday, November 17, 2018
Florida has hurricanes. The northeast has blizzards. And we here in sunny California have forest fires. As of this check, in fact, we have 146,000 acres worth of fire-demolished turf—and counting. And that's just up here in northern California.
I may be at a safe 140 mile distance from the troubles up in Paradise, but don't think we're untouched by this tragedy. Other than the unhealthy air we're breathing, the bulging traffic in town makes me wonder how many refugees from the "Camp" fire have sought shelter, not in the completely packed emergency centers in Butte County and neighboring areas, but even as far away as down here with family—any family who will take them in.
Even while the northern part of our state is burning (not to mention, its twin tragedy down south), someone back east is fiddling. Apparently, it's no longer fashionable to provide media coverage of devastation while it is still occurring—at least, apparently to some viral Twitter conversations mulling over whether it's more fair to give 24-hour coverage to hurricanes than fire-nados. Please. Somebody hand me a particulate respirator.
So, while the chaos continues, the rest of us stand by, useless, but warned to stay indoors. Colleges have closed their doors around here—yes, this far away—and as the air quality continues to plummet, I suspect other organizations will follow suit.
Meanwhile, what's an isolated family historian to do? Stay safely indoors and...and...well, go online and do more research. What else is there to do? And, apparently, so has everyone else, judging by the sluggish response of my favorite family history website last night. Admittedly, that is so First World Problem, but when we are captive in our own homes, what else is there to do?
Above: Watching the data as things go from bad to worse. The top segment in the map to the right represents the air quality rating for the county where I live. The number 290 written there places it within the range from 201 to 300 labeled "Very Unhealthy." The next category up is designated "Hazardous." That's for the Central Valley counties south of Sacramento, California. I can only cringe to think what the people north of the state capital are experiencing. Data courtesy the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District.