I was standing in a parking lot with a friend. We’d just finished a yoga class. Above us the sky was a gross mustardy yellow. “They say our air quality these past few days has been like Beijing or Nigeria,” she said. A little later the checker at Trader Joes echoed her sentiment, only compared the air quality to Delhi.
We were talking about the Camp Fire, which was not, contrary to its name, started by a camp fire. No, the fire that wiped out the sweet little town of Paradise, taking with it seventy-nine people, was started by a faulty power line; and it’s still blazing away, though the firefighters (bless them!) say it’s now seventy percent contained. Here in Santa Cruz, a whole two hundred and fifty miles away, we’re getting the smoke, and it’s pretty nasty. I hear it’s worse in San Francisco and Oakland, and that in Paradise, if you hold your hand out, you can’t see it.
My heart goes out to those who lost their homes, their jobs, their neighborhoods—and especially to those who lost loved ones. I can’t imagine. If you are among them, know that I’m thinking of you, and that I care. A lot of us do. And we’re taking note which politicians care. This goes as well for those down south who are battling the Woolsey fire near Malibu. Though it took only three lives, it stole so many homes and livelihoods.
But here’s the thing, when people say to me “Air quality as bad as Beijing! Nigeria! Delhi!” all I can think is, those poor people that live in those places! I’m told many of them wear masks every time they leave the house, that foul air is there normal. It just fills me with deepest compassion.
The good news is, rain is predicted! If we get enough of it, maybe we can put an end to this year’s fire season. Wow. That’s weird to even write: fire season. But it looks like that’s going to be our new normal here in California.
With Thanksgiving just a day away, I’d like to offer up some ways we can help the victims of the Camp Fire.
- North Valley Community Foundation: 530-366-0397
- Butte County Office of Education: 530-532-5720
- Caring Choices: 530-899-3873
- American Red Cross: 1-800-733-27677 or text REDCROSS to 90999
- The Salvation Army: 1-800-725-2769
- United Way of Northern California: To donate, text BUTTEFIRE to 91999
- Go Fund Me: Click here to donate
- North Valley Animal Disaster Group: donate here
And I hope your thanksgiving is a good one! May you feel safe, loved, healthy, and full of good nutritious food! And remember, live the love, it’s all we’ve got!