Chico airport was busy with firefighting planes today, but they weren't flying over my neighborhood, so I could hear them only faintly. They were turning east to deal with a fire on the upper ridge that has expanded quite a bit, though it isn't yet threatening any populated areas. The fire near Oroville has burned four houses. The big one in the region is still the lightning complex in Napa and Solano counties, though all evacuation orders were lifted in Fairfield Thursday afternoon, and most evacuation orders in Vacaville except for some neighborhoods in the extreme western part of the city. There still isn't a definitive count of how many houses have burned, but it's at least 105. One unidentified body has been found in Solano County, and three are known dead in Napa County.
The smoke continues to be pretty bad, though its not as bad tonight as it was Thursday afternoon. Fires in remote parts of the mountains can burn for weeks this time of year, so smoke might be a daily occurrence for the rest of the summer. Little effort is likely to be expended on those back country fires while there are still populated areas under threat from other fires. If there is one silver lining to that big smokey cloud it is that it has slightly moderated the temperatures, and the triple-digit days have disappeared from the forecast. Every day for at least the next two weeks is still expected to get into the nineties, though.
For dinner Thursday I made ramen with some of the chopped vegetables that the lady from the Salvation Army brought. It turned out quite good. I put a bit of extra water and cooked the veggies init for three minutes before adding the ramen. Most of the vegetables were still a bit crunchy, but the carrots were a bit too soft. Next time I think I'll cook the veggies for only two minutes. Once I can get out again I'll buy some mushrooms to toss into the mix, and maybe some bean sprouts.
It's fairly cool outside again tonight, and the smoke might have diminished enough that I can have a window open for a while. I've got the fan going instead of the air conditioner, and the smell is not too bad. At least it'snot painful, as it was earlier in the day. There isn't much of a breeze tonight, and I think the smoke might be rising more than it's spreading out. I'm sure it will reek later today, since mot of the fires are still 0% contained. We have to writ August off as a total loss, I think, and probably a big part of September as well. I just hope they get the fires out before the autumn winds start to kick up.
A few brief words about Friday:
The smoke was not quite as bad Friday as it was Thursday, and tonight it has cleared out fairly well, so I get to open some windows and cool the place with the fan. I spent much of the day tracking fire news on the Internet, and that's still pretty bad, though it looks like Vacaville and Fairfield are out of serious danger. Some threatening situations have arisen along and near the coast though, with the town of Healdsburg in Sonoma County still under an evacuation warning (meaning be prepared to evacuate if an order is issued) and some other parts of the county have been evacuated. Meanwhile about 40,000 people have been evacuated in San Mateo and Santa Cruz counties, where the orders included the campus of U.C. Santa Cruz.
I ran a cross a satellite view (which I subsequently lost track of) showing the smoke flowing across California and over Nevada. It looked like at least half the north state was under that drifting cloud. More bad news is that a mass of warm, humid air is moving up from the southwest, and there's a 50% chance that it will bring more dry electrical storms on Sunday and Monday. That could start hundreds more fires, some of which would be likely to grow as large as those we are already dealing with. This is already the second most extensive fire season on record, and it's only August. Most of the fires are nowhere near being contained, so it looks like the record is about to fall, even if the weekend storms don't occur.
As for myself, I'm still lacking energy, still experiencing an anxious ennui, and still too hot. The utility bill arrived today, and it topped seventy dollars for the first time since I moved in here. Judging from the long-term forecast, it could be about as high next month. Tonight I'm feeling a bit morose because I can't hear any crickets. It's possible that they have all found mates and have switched to the softer chirps they make when that happens, and they are just too far from my yard for those soft chirps to be heard. That would actually be good news, so I'm going to assume that that is what has happened. I'm pretty desperate for good news, even if it's only about next year's cricket population, which I might not even be around to listen to.
Now I have to remember to hit that "post" button. I don't want to have to add a third entry to this same post tomorrow night.