Fire Season Installment #1
I can't concentrate so I might as well write this
With fire season fully here and me feeling nervous all the time, I’ve decided to just write about it. What else am I going to do? This installment is going to be free but I think I will just make subsequent ones for subscribers because I might do a lot of them and I don’t want to overwhelm people who don’t wish to be overwhelmed with posts. Subscribe if you want.
There’s a new fire near me, the River Fire, outside Colfax, CA. At this moment it’s not that close, maybe 20 miles from here. Some of our friends have evacuated. I am not in the middle of this fire at this time. I am just a very anxious person.
Plenty of people are going about business as usual, so don’t feel too sorry for me. T. and his father are hard at work, doubtless my friend the Badger is in the middle of a heated Zoom meeting about salamanders. I don’t know how anyone is doing anything. Every time the wind blows my heart starts to beat fast and I feel like I'm going to be sick. Wind is really the bad bad thing for fires, which I didn’t know until recently. I never bothered to think about fires until a few years ago. When I was growing up I was too busy thinking about rain, or snow, would it ever stop, would the sun ever come out. Now I am sick of the sun. I almost wrote “curse the sun,” but it’s just being itself.
Curse the oil companies, the car companies, the biomass companies, the pellet mills, and most of all curse this system that made everyone go to jobs that mostly exist to make very few people rich.
The fire started about 2 p.m. on Wednesday. At around 3:30, out the kitchen window, I saw a weird brown stripe in the sky. The Badger, who was working on our porch, agreed the stripe did not look good. I'd planned to go swimming with my friend Molly, and I went, even though I was anxious. The fire was due south of the lake, or at least that’s how I understand it. The smoke plume arced from the southeast corner of the lake to its northwest corner. As we swam it came closer to us. A motorboat blasting Taylor Swift 's “Love Story” blew past with a skier. “Those people do not look concerned,” I said. Molly said, “They certainly don't.” Children playing on the rocky beach screamed to each other, “You have ash on your face!” and “Look at the sun! It’s orange.”
When I got home the fire had grown to 1000 acres. Throughout the evening nearly 5000 people were on mandated evacuation, about the same number on suggested evacuation. We had cucumbers and corn for dinner. Then we drank Scotch watching “Outer Banks” which was at first transporting and then dull. We watched a reality show called “Sexy Beast” that I kind of loved but don’t need to see again and will not explain to you, you must experience it for yourself.
I woke up to coffee and no new evacuations but a feeling of terrible unease. It’s quarter of one now and the fire's at about 2500 acres. The last update was somewhat encouraging, but it’s all up to the wind.