Smoke from the Dixie Fire thankfully (for us) shifted southwest yesterday, inundating the Sacramento Valley and allowing us to breathe fresh air for a change. I’m relieved to report that the sky here was mostly blue. It was nice to have a respite. Who knows how long it will last – the southern edge of the fire is still active.
Today’s CalFire update is sobering. This monster has now consumed 700,000+ acres. If this were the first and only catastrophic fire in recent years that would be incomprehensible. But it’s way past that now. The Dixie Fire is just this fire season’s latest (if you don’t count the Caldor Fire southwest of Lake Tahoe) in a long chain of catastrophic and deadly fires that seemed to me to really ramp up with Tuolumne County’s Rim Fire in 2013. Federal forests have been enabled to step up their wildfire mitigation efforts, but it will take more. A lot more.
California is in the midst of a recall election. Reportedly, the current governor slashed $150 million from his fire budget and I’m told later restored it. With the huge budget surplus and the number of fires here, I have to wonder… One of the candidates vying to replace him next month has a plan to cut taxes and address wildfires. Seems to me he’d get some traction, but you never know. I hope he does.
Tomorrow I head back home where the Professor tells me we may have rain by evening. That sounds good as long as lightning doesn’t come with it. We have our own fires to fight in Idaho. But for today at least, I look out at the beautiful Sierra Nevada and hope state and federal governments get really serious about appropriating funds to better manage these forests. As it is, they’re fighting a losing battle.