The West is Burning

in life •  5 months ago

It seems that no matter where I live, there are all these wildfires, bringing with them danger and destruction in their immediate vicinity and smoke for miles. And this smoke goes on for days, even weeks.

Last Fall I was in the San Francisco Bay Area, and we had 2 weeks with so much smoke from fires burning around the area that I had to wear a mask just to go to the mailbox. Even in the house, which has a whole house air purifier, my eyes were constantly burning.

Then I moved to northern NM this Summer and of course a week after I get here a fire starts about 25 miles away that has been burning ever since. The air fills with smoke every night, when we should be airing our places out to fill them with cool night air, in preparation for the hot Summer days here in the desert. But even now, at about 7am, it's too smokey to open up the house much. I did leave one window open overnight just to make the temps in here bearable today, but that one window smoked up the entire house.

Meanwhile my friends still in the Bay Area say there is also a fire burning there now, and that they left their windows open one night to wake up to find actual ash on all their furniture!

People with asthma are using portable oxygen tanks here. One night I actually slept (as best I could) with one of those paper-like masks.

I don't know about the CA fires, but I know both of the fires burning near here (one also in CO near the NM border) were set by humans. What's wrong with these people?

I feel bad for any homeowners losing property, and doubly so because the tax code introduced this year no longer allows a deduction for loses due to wildfires. (Billionaires can however deduct the cost of fuel for their private planes, but I digress.) But the real danger isn't just loss of property, but loss of life.

When I say loss of life, I mean immediately, as in death as a direct result of the fire. But also the cumulative effect of breathing smoke means more health problems, from lung problems to heart to stroke. We need clean air to breathe. We need that every day.

Anyway, not much to say to make any real point here. Just observing that the West is burning, and the people are breathing the smoke, and other people are setting the fires. Crazy world.

Fire in Northern NM

(photo source: Taos News)

Fire in Northern CA

(photo source: My friend Alyssa Morrisey, from near her house)

Resteems always appreciated

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The fires last summer in the Pacific Northwest were brutal. My hometown of Bend was socked in with smoke from the California, Oregon, Washington, and Idaho fires. We had air quality indexes in the 700s -- the worst out of anywhere in the world, including China. Unbearable and unlivable! I'm worried that we're in for more of it this summer...


Geesh, you just reminded me that the fire season has only just begun. Summer only started about a week ago! Yes, I pray that this Summer isn't like last.

Hello @indigoocean. Thank you for this article. Yes, the world is crazy. Here in Nothern Thailand we have the same problem from February to April. But here mostly poor or uneducated people are setting the fires.

Be strong - Resteemed


People are starting fires there too? Is if for heat or cooking, then gets out of control? These ones are doing it mostly to intentionally create the destruction. Though sometimes it's someone smoking cigarettes carelessly or playing with fireworks.

Indeed it is another unfortunate circumstance of living in the dry air climate. On the East coast it was always dealing with Hurricanes each year.

I'm sure there are already some very experienced forest firefighters working their hardest to ensure no lives are lost. One small positive in all of this is that fires usually promote new growth. There is an interesting response by the ecosystem that happens after. You can read about some of it here. I'm not sure how the particular environment where you are would be negatively or positively effected, but I do hope that no human lives are displaced.


We are really lucky here that this fire hasn't made it into any neighborhoods. Some of my friends lost homes in the CA fires last year. Many others had to move simply because though their home was spared, they couldn't take living in a burned out wasteland.

Thankfully the firefighters feel like they've got this one controlled to the forest. Even though it was still 0% contained at the 1 week mark, and was often doubling in size overnight, night after night, they seem to feel like it is still all in their control and only burning what they don't mind it burning. We just have to live with all the smoke. And me with no a/c!

Nature offered us a precious gift of fresh air but we choose to toxicate it...
Here in Nigeria, Somebody will set fire on tires without considering the hottest of the temperature and electricity is never constant, so you can't have Air condition always.
It just feels like Hell Fire is a bus stop away from me.


That's a really vivid simile. Sorry that you're dealing with human caused air pollution too.

Oh wow! I am so sorry you and all others have to deal with that. People that purposely set fires should pay a very steap penalty for it that will seriously make them think twice before doing such a horrible thing.


I agree. The laws for arson are pretty significant. But for such massive fires that affect so many people, a single firestarter can never be held fully accountable.

People are crazy and I call them least conscious lives with mind. This is insane. We are the one who creates the problem and then look upside for the solution. This is the worst way to treat this planet. Always doing those bloody experiments and ending up in polluting the planet. All that we can do is to inspire people in our circle to take care of their surroundings. It will take a lot of time to actually see the effect , but that is the solution..


I feel you. We humans are the only problem our species has!


And we are the only solution...:-)

How unfortunate it is that humanity can not understand the damage it causes the planet and the damage it does to itself. How many animals die in those fires, loss of life, work, enthusiasm, all because people do not learn and do not realize the damage they do.


Yes, for the animals it is even worse. We can at least shut ourselves into our houses if we must. It also has been an extreme problem for homeless people, though interestingly out here they aren't really considered homeless. There is so much land that people just put together what they can over time to create makeshift homes. Those do sometimes blow away in the monsoons though. So I imagine they also do little to keep out smoke from wildfires.

Here in the UK we've just experienced one of the largest ever moorland fires, with fifty-foot flames there were fears that it could have spread into the city of Manchester .. and yes it was started deliberately! I concur "what's wrong with these people"? The west is both metaphorically and physically burning. :( Crazy times!

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The human being with the hunger that moves money does not pay attention to affect any area with impurities and damage the ecosystem, plants, animals and especially the human being.
I understand you and I support you in your exposure of feeling affected by that negligence.

that I had to wear a mask just to go to the mailbox

wow that sounds kind of extreme!

What's wrong with these people?

Creating those fires is not a crime? Since it is something destructive that can only do harm to others it shouldn't be allowed.

But I cannot find an explanation why would someone want to do something like this?

Don't you think there is the possibility of it being cause by glasses thrown away and when the sunlight hits them the fire is started?


They always presume natural causes until they find human causes. In these particular cases they can trace the fires to humans. In one other case it was started by lightning hitting a tree. One was set intentionally in CO by an arsonist. One was started by teens playing with fireworks (the terrible one in the Bay Area last year), and this one near here they haven't released the details yet, but they say a human cause has been found. The teens they didn't charge with a crime, even though they could have. The arsonist I'm sure will be charged. This one, I don't know. Was it negligence or intentional? They can charge for a crime either way, but often they don't charge people for negligence (like not fully putting out a campfire or tossed cigarette).

I just don't get why people don't realize how dangerous fire is and how easy it is for it to get out of control. You know they have now closed almost all of the area parks for the Summer? The fire danger is too great. It's too great because they can't trust the people visiting the parks not to do stupid things!