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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Everything is on fire. The air quality index is around 400 now, topped 600 yesterday. Tens of thousands of people have evacuated and their temporary shelters and camps are all around now. The evacuation warning zone is 4 miles east of me. Three of my favorite trails were just obliterated. The hospital is overflowing thanks to half the people murderously refusing vaccination and then adding smoke exposure cases. Every national park and forest in the region has closed until it rains to free up resources.

This is just the new normal. Happens every year. Life goes on, except for the people who die.

So, when air quality allows, I've been scheduling hikes for my hiking group on the trails that aren't burning. In the process, I've managed to meet an interesting local woman. She's one of those rare people with whom I can converse without feeling unnatural. At the end of the last hike, she invited me and the other attendee to join her for pizza... but I reflexively declined and hope I didn't seem rude.

Tonight, I'll be going out to a movie theater for the first time since last November. It's nice that COVID at least guarantees vacant seats on both sides (and likely a nearly-empty theater).
 

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experimental sincerity
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That sounds pretty scary and very sad. I certainly hope this is not the new normal (the phrase 'new normal' is chilling in itself).
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The fires definitely are the new normal (and any chance of eliminating COVID entirely is probably gone too). The 7 biggest wildfires in California history were all in the last 3 years, the two biggest last year and this year, so it may get even worse as climate change progresses. Fortunately this particular fire is winding down and they've managed to save most of all the towns except one. Lost a few more trails and the highway may not reopen for weeks, but so it goes.

With all the other fires, I'll probably have to keep checking whether the air is breathable before going outside until late November. My air purifier picked a bad time to die.
 
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