“Extremely dense & tall smoke plumes from numerous large wildfires, some of which have been generating nocturnal pyrocumulonimbus clouds (fire thunderstorms), are almost completely blocking out the sun across some portions of Northern California this morning.” –Climate Scientist Daniel Swain on Twitter (@Weather_West)
So, I woke up to an eerie orange glow outside at 9:30 in the morning. The room looked dark. My first impulse was to laugh at the absurdity of it all. Our toilet also chose this moment to clog up and take hours to fix, so there was the apocalypse and then there was the short-term practical crisis to attend to. I wonder what parents are saying to their kids today.
The whole Bay Area has been impacted. And yesterday I traced the line of fires on an Air Now.gov map all the way from California through Oregon and Washington up to British Columbia.
We are in deep shit, folks! It’s notable that no one knows what to do. Gavin Newsom’s response yesterday was to shoulder cheerfully on. (He changed his tune later in the week and was photographed amid the devastation, saying, “We’re in a climate damn emergency!”)
We shall see what happens. After thirty years in the States, I didn’t expect to end up a climate refugee, but in the end, we all will be, and California is always ahead of the rest. So, here we are.
The air is still breathable. It’s full of fine ash and not great, but it’s not technically unhealthy or hazardous at this point. Small mercies.
UPDATE 9/12: We are now stuck firmly in the scarlet-red of unhealthy air quality (177 as of this writing). Here’s an article from the SF Chronicle showing pics of San Francisco under the orange glow.