I had feared the delivery might consist mostly of staples, of which I have no shortage, but it turned out to be mostly perishable items, including three potatoes, an orange bell pepper, a box with bunches of red and green grapes, a shallow tub of chopped vegetation which looks rather like an undressed slaw, a package of four rolls, a half dozen eggs, a half gallon of milk, and a two ounce bottle of something called an acerola juice shot, which the label says is made from cold pressed cherries. So, yeah, I can use all that stuff, which is a relief. I'm thinking that during the Monday conversation, through which I was mostly asleep, I must have said something about not needing staples or canned goods but only tho sort of perishable items I usually buy at Trader Joe's or Grocery Outlet when the heat is not preventing me from going out. But I really don't remember any of that conversation now. Maybe I make more sense when I'm half asleep than I do the rest of the time, which is a rather distressing thought when I get right down to it.
So, that happened. I didn't even notice at that time that the sky was a dim and dirty shade of brown, or that it reeked of smoke, or that tiny bits of ash were falling through the mucky air. I noticed that after when I went out to the back yard after putting the grocery items away. Neither the look nor the smell of the air improved through the day. The smell has not improved even now, and bits of ash are still falling, so I'm assuming it would look as bad as it did today were the sky not hidden by darkness. But I can tell the air is still quite bad not only by the smell of smoke, but by the fact that it hurts to inhale deeply. The lightning failed to strike me Monday, so it must be taking another shot at me by trying to suffocate me. Too bad it's burning down half of California to get at me. That makes me feel guilty.
The smoke is still not coming from the fires in Butte County, as the breeze is still coming from the west. There are dozens of fires all up and down the state, most of them fairly small and not growing rapidly, but the most threatening of the big ones is still the one between Vacaville (which means Cowtown in Spanish) and Napa. A couple of good-sized neighborhoods in Vacaville were evacuated today, though the evacuation order for the area south of Interstate 80 has since been lifted. For the time being it looks like the main part of Vacaville will be safe, but over a hundred buildings have been burned in the semi-rural area to the west of the city, and more than 70 others damaged.
I've been looking at new photos and watching a few videos of the fire, and they are quite distressing. Fire scenes used to look a bit unreal to me, but I can tell you that even videos look very real once you've seen such things in person, up close. The area suffering the most damage so far has been a region of expensive rural houses of the well-to-do, many of whom keep livestock, especially horses. The fire expanded so rapidly overnight Tuesday night and Wednesday morning that many animals could not be evacuated in time, and quite a few have been killed and many others are missing.
One of the worst photos I've seen so far has been of a horse, a pony and a llama who were being treated at the veterinary medical center at the University of California at Davis, all in pretty bad shape. The horse was the only one of six belonging to one household who survived. Many of the injured animals from the 2018 Butte County fire were taken to U.C. Davis, which is almost a hundred miles from Paradise. I guess it's lucky for the surviving injured animals in Solano County that the University is only a few miles east of Vacaville, so they'll be getting attention fairly quickly once they've been caught.
I do have a personal gripe, though, just so people won't think I'm going all selfless in a crisis. Tonight is going to be the first cool night in quite a while, and I can't cool the apartment off by opening the windows and turning on the fan, because the air is so foul. It really bites to be me this year. But then I guess it really bites to be just about anybody this year. This year really bites.