Within the last two years the air above Santa Rosa has become thick with ash, acrid, and severely unhealthy. A year ago the immensely destructive Tubbs Fire bore down on northern Santa Rosa obliterating thousands of homes. For days afterwards the skies were filled with the smoke and ash from the epic destruction.
Over the past couple days, the Camp Fire located northeast of Santa Rosa in Butte County has exploded to rapidly surpass the destruction laid by the Tubbs Fire. In the process it vaulted a significant amount of smoke and ash into the atmosphere, much of it settling over Napa and Sonoma counties.
A thin coat of ash has settled over parked cars. The air visibility rivals an especially bad day in Beijing. Each of the past few days the sun has appeared orange through the haze, as if we were in a perpetual Los Angeles sunset.
My fellow citizens quickly donned their N95 masks to filter through the incredibly unhealthy air, as we learned to do last October. On Friday, the smoke laid so thick over the city that schools canceled classes; lacking snow, Santa Rosa children had a “smoke day.”
It is all becoming so routine.
The fires are but a symptom.
Like many others here, I find myself increasingly concerned with the very real effects of climate change on California. I also find myself more and more uncomfortable with the blasé attitudes towards this problem by many in California and around the country.
Regardless of how we react to the aftermath caused by massive wildfires in California. I hope others see them for what they are: a reminder of the serious consequences of climate change.
My partner has become congested as if she had a cold. I have been suffering from a fairly constant headache. Outside it feels heavy and unpleasant to breathe.
Life will continue to be difficult so long as the air is fire.