Merely a year after the devastating Napa fires of the previous October, Northern California is once again engulfed in plums of dangerous smoke. Unseasonably dry and and windy conditions compounded the fiery conditions that started in the city of Paradise. By afternoon on the same day last Thursday, San Francisco - some 200 miles away from the epicenter - was already covered in a haze of orange.
The smokey calamity up north was joined by another blaze down south near the city of Malibu. Hundreds of thousands of residents from both Malibu and Paradis were forced to evacuate, and the structures lost amount into the many thousands. Deaths, too, in the tens and climbing; those unlucky few unable to escape in time.
With the ‘Camp Fire’ barely contained through much of the weekend, the air quality in San Francisco made outside activity untenable. Grumble as we may about being stuck at home on what was to be a nice long Veterans Day weekend, just shift perspective to the families that have lost homes in the fire: everything you’ve ever known to be secure and solid, gone in a flash. Suddenly our situation isn’t so bad at all.
I don’t think there’s any way possible to be mentality prepared for that kind of misfortune. Home insurance will no doubt cover most of it, but the strength and energy required to rebuild absolutely everything is something I can’t fathom. What was once quaint and vibrant neighborhoods are rendered into apocalyptic ghost-towns; where would you even begin?
Those of us fortunate enough to not be materially harmed by the ongoing fires in California owe it to the karmic gods to assist our neighbors in their time of great need. I urge you to donate whatever you can to the various verified GoFundMe campaigns dedicated to the cause. I fear we’re going to need each others help frequently in the years ahead as climate change produces more and more extreme weather events.
God bless the brave firefighters and first-responders ceaselessly working onwards.