Some 400 wildfires are reportedly raging across the steep, grassy, bone dry terrain of Northern California this weekend, following several days of extreme and steamy early summer temperatures.
The smoke that we can smell inside the house this weekend is being sucked across county lines from some 3,500 acres of burning prime vineyard property in neighboring Napa Valley.
By the time the boys went upstairs to bed last night, their bathroom was filled with a dense cloak of smoke which had smuggled like a thug through an open window. There's an eerie atmosphere enveloping Northern California communities, as residents such as ourselves are keeping a close eye on the safety and security of open spaces.
Many neighbors are not wasting a minute in escaping out to the beach for some respite, yet the oceanic breezes of the Pacific are packing a slight punch over Sonoma County today, as temperatures are gradually climbing back down into the comfortable 80s.
Over 150 homes were evacuated over the hills into Fairfield, a notoriously windy, hot, sticky, slightly more central valley community positioned between wine country and Sacramento.
These are the perils of life in paradise. Wildfire, floods, earthquakes. Keeping an emergency supply in the garage is a good idea for times of extreme natural disaster. Although we seem to be fairly safe so close to the coast on this occasion, all it takes is a foolishly discarded cigarette to set off a massive blaze. Certainly no campfires in the covered pit this week.
Off to Brian's annual Cherry Picking Party tonight. We might need to don gas masks to complete the technical operation of this gastronomic event. Actually, there is one hanging on the end of oldest son's bed. Right by the side of a vintage life jacket. Haven't ever asked him about the logic of his eclectic bedroom decor. Maybe it's because he's a Californian born and bred. Natural disaster preparedness being in-bred!
Monday Update: News this morning is that neighboring Mendocino County to the North is now incredibly under siege from out of control wildfires. Lightning-sparked blazes are the culprit, according to up-to-date media reports throughout the region. Grassland, conifer and oak forests are on fire in areas which have not seen this type of devastation in the last quarter century. Marin County firetrucks were filling up with water from hydrants in our quiet hillside neigborhood as I made my way home from the cherry picking party late last night. Not sure where they were heading, North or East, but no doubt all fire trucks in the region are on full-throttle right now. Do we have enough water supply for this scale of a regional wildfire season?