July 7th, 2008


Living in a Time of Fire

Red Dawn in Noe ValleyHow long has it been that mornings in Noe Valley are tainted with just barely detectable smoke?

Is there a fireplace going near-by?  So early in the morning?

After a short, irritated hack of a cough, I remember.

The smoke from the Big Basin Complex fires -- or from one of the other 1000 fires in California -- drops to the ground overnight. Red sun at morning, firefighters take warning.

During the day, especially with the afternoon off-shore breezes, there's no trace of the inferno. But, it in the morning, every morning, the smoke's back. 

The worst effect on our lives is the disruption of my gym schedule as I forego morning exercise bicycle sessions when the air is the dirtiest.  Tsk.

But, what fires these must be to blow smoke to our coastal city for so long!

What would a San Francisco resident think 100 or 200 or 1000 years ago?  Smoke in the morning. Where's the fire? Do I run? Go to the coast? Gather the tribe to fight the flames?

21 Century me has no such anxieties.  Here's to Googling for news and and reassurance, the California Department of Forestry firefighters, and Governor Schwarzenegger for keeping the National Guard off border patrol duty so that they're available for this emergency.