a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: Smoke gets in your...lungs

Friday, September 11, 2020

Smoke gets in your...lungs

SUMMARY: Fires and smoke are bad all up and down the west coast. Under siege for 4 weeks.
From facebook: consolidating a few of my posts and my comments on others' posts.

Some days the smoke is worse than others. Some days it's above a cloud layer, which makes everything an eerie or even scary yellow to deep orange. Other days it's right in your back yard, and you might smell it even if it's many miles from the source.

My back yard on the 9th.
Everything inside and outside bathed in
sickly yellow-orange.
Relatively tame compared to many.

At 5:00 PM on the 9th. Sunset not until 7:30. 
With a large window
over the sink (visible) next to a 
sliding glass door and another sliding 
glass door to my right.  Spooky dark.

On the 9th, my facebook feed filled with photos of those creepy, apocalyptic skies up and down the west coast. So many friends--one friend commented that she logged in to post her photo and when she scrolled through and saw that everyone was posting them (from goopy yellow to deep red), she didn't bother. And no matter the color, it was dark. Like, after-sunset kind of dark. Had to turn on lights in my house to navigate safely. Spooky. Pretty much everyone shared similar discomforting emotions about the colors and the darkness. And so dominant that it made multiple front-page photos in the San Jose paper. 

Two days ago, only moderately bad air quality first thing in the morning, but got worse. Next day, upper 90s to lower 100s. This morning...

Woke up dreaming I'd been walking the dog and was out of breath. Woke up and breathing harder than normal. Not gasping for breath or even panting--but AQ was around 240--so time for a hit off the old inhaler. And I had left my windows cracked a few inches just for the coolness, hoping that the screen and 2 layers of curtains would reduce particulate matter. Apparently not so much. Also closed the windows.

I had been averaging 50,000+ steps/week since chip's death, but between the heat and the air quality the last 3 1/2  weeks, it's dropping precipitously. Zorro is going nuts not going for walks. But even he is mostly staying inside lately, on his own.

So I recomposed some lyrics for all of us.

Oh give me air, fresh clean air, under starry skies above.
Don't smoke me in.
Let me walk through the wide open country that I love.
Don't smoke me in.
Let me be in a place where it’s easy to breathe,
Listen to the murmur of tall unburned trees,
Make me S.I.P. but I ask you please,
Don't smoke me in.

If you look at the airnow.gov map (https://gispub.epa.gov/airnow/) for the EPA's sensors for the entire mainland U.S. for this morning, it's kind of pretty . Like holiday lights. Or... erm.. alarms and warnings. So many fires up and down the western states, and depending on the winds and inversion layers or whatnot, you don't know which fire's smoke you're receiving. Personally, I like to be introduced before I inhale something.

Active fires as of Sept 11 from https://storymaps.esri.com/stories/usa-wildfires/
Many caused by a rare thunder/lightning storm mostly on Sunday Aug 16. Worse, it was dry.
Reported August 19:
"Over the last 72 hours, there have been some 10,849 lightning strikes throughout California, state officials said. As of Wednesday afternoon, 367 major fires were burning statewide, according to Gov. Gavin Newsom."

 About 170,000 people were evacuated in those few days; although many were allowed back fairly quickly, more were evacuated in other areas.  With all of this-- is it no wonder that talk of COVID, which had been maybe 70% of facebook, has been completed replaced by news like this. I'm just consolidating a little of nearly a month of an ongoing facebook stream of fires and destruction and evacuees and smoke and HEAT! that made it worse.

So now you may return to whatever you were doing, and I hope it's sunny and smoke- and fire-free. 

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