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Reset Thirteen, Day Four [Sep. 28th, 2020|03:16 am]
There's a red moon tonight. The sky was almost blue over Chico when I woke up Sunday afternoon, but later in the afternoon plumes of smoke appeared, fairly high up at first and then gradually settling. Rather strangely, at five o'clock I could stand in my driveway and see dense smoke in every direction, but this neighborhood remained fairly clear. At 11 PM our air quality index was only 23, which is quite good. As the sampling station for Chico is near North Valley Plaza, just down the road from me, people in other parts of town are probably having a different experience.

The reason for all this smoke is of course the wind. Not only did three large new fires pop up Sunday, but the North Complex fire, which includes the Bear fire, is now a threat to a larger area, and new evacuation orders have been issued as well as new evacuation warnings. The entire Town of What's Left of Paradise is under an evacuation warning, as are areas farther up the ridge, and the entire Camp Fire burn scar east of the Feather River's west fork is under an evacuation order. Enough brush has grown in the last two years to get quite a blaze going, and of course there are still many dead trees that were not entirely consumed by the last fire and have not yet been removed that will provide additional fuel.

The situation could be even more dire in Napa, Sonoma, and Shasta counties. A new fire broke out in Napa County and is threatening the town of St. Helena, and father south a fire east of Santa Rosa in Sonoma County has forced the evacuation of Oakmont Village, a large development for people 55+, many of whom have had to be evacuated by Santa Rosa city buses. The population of the threatened neighborhood is more than 4,500.

Farther north, in Shasta County, a fire broke out early Sunday afternoon near the town of Igo, and by seven o'clock Sunday evening had consumed 7,000 acres of grass and mixed conifer and oak woodland. It is not yet threatening Redding, Anderson, or the more rustic but still populous Happy Valley area closer to the fire, but if the wind starts blowing hard enough in their direction it could. Wind is not expected to be as strong today as it was Sunday, but it will still be pretty strong, and after easing off on Tuesday it could pick up again Wednesday. It's likely to be a rough week for the north state.

If the smoke gets really bad again, it could be a rough week for me too. I'm still feeling exhausted even from the short walk to the mailbox. Monday night I'll have to drag the wheelie bin out to the street, and it would be so nice to have actual air to breathe while I was doing that. It's hard to believe that just six months ago I was walking down to Grocery Outlet or over to the Plaza almost every day. It's quite distressing that things can change so terribly fast.