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I am making plans. I am making plans based on my emotional, physical, and spiritual well being. I live in California and the entire west coast is burning. No fire has yet reached me, but the smoke has. Like the global pandemic, this version of climate change is hitting a second wave. I was not surprised when my “green days” turned to shades of yellow and orange this weekend. As when Shelter in Place began, I am not in denial. I know this is a dangerous moment and I am paying attention. I urge you to do the same.
This is a picture I took of a “fire-filter” sunset over Mt. Tamalpais. It is a beautiful sign of present and ongoing danger not to be ignored. The words are not ones to ignore as well. As I face the impact of climate change in my reality, I allow myself to speak this truth to others and we are all better equipped to care for those around us, including all non-human beings and the earth.
“We continue to experience above-normal fire activity in California, Idaho, Oregon, and other states,” said Ken Schmid with the Bureau of Land Management Fire Operations. “Thankfully our Department of Defense and international partners (Mexico and Canada) are able to support us in this time of need, as wildfire activity will likely carry on for the foreseeable future, particularly in California.”
The short version of why a warm, dry fall forecast is problematic and how we got here is in this 1.35 minute video. A week ago I realized that, as with the Global Pandemic, plans needed to be made. I hit the point when the danger of embarking on a plane ride in a Global Pandemic might be a better choice for my health than being in terrible air quality and risk of evacuation for weeks. I just got through a two-week stretch of smoke-induced isolation and it dwarfed my Shelter in Place anxiety. You were either in the smoke with me, checking the air quality on a daily and hourly basis, or you saw the pictures. The pictures now are of two new uncontained fires, one 60 miles to the north of me in Napa.
What are my factors to consider? Glad you asked.
- the actual need to evacuate because of a fire in close proximity
- current and predicted poor air quality due to smoke
What are the options I am considering? Really glad to share.
- Talking to my son in the Humboldt area (near the other new fire) about either driving together to LA to stay temporarily with my sister depending on their air quality OR
- Flying together to Boston to stay with my daughter. He has a small turtle, so I have researched the options.
What am I doing to prepare for a fall with even more wildfires? Take note.
- Making a packing list for a quick departure
- Stocking food I don’t need electricity to prepare as it may get shut off in the next few months (bonus points if food is packable); keeping ice packs in the freezer so I can protect food if electricity is shut off.
- Buying supplies – solar lanterns, car plug for computer in case electricity is out and I have to go somewhere for Wifi, second-floor window ladder, N95 masks for smoke, and exercise/movement equipment for indoors (this also works for continued social distancing reality).
In case you live in the west and still need a nudge to make YOUR plans, read this. If you don’t live in the west, pay attention to your dangers and face what is true with thoughtfulness. Talk to your people and make sure you are all making plans to watch out for yourself and others. Tend to your heart and give yourself time to feel the loss amid so much loss. My heart is so sad as I watch the air quality diminish and my beloved land burn due to the greed of White Supremacy and disregard of mother earth and all her beings. Do your part to stay safe and minimize fossil fuel use. My air purifier and diffuser with eucalyptus oil are my constant companions. Breathe into the overwhelm and reach out to your loved ones.