Friday, October 26, 2007

The Air We Breathe

All week we've been breathing in smoke and ash as wild fires rage around us. Local schools closed down and canceled football games because of poor air quality. Joggers took their workouts inside to treadmills. Parents nixed their kids usual outside play, and our mailman wore a protective mask on his route.

We're located between Irvine and San Diego, two sites of this week's major wildfires. Though we could see flames from the hilltops, our own neighborhood was never in danger. Naturally, we're reminded how fortunate we are when we see the number of homes destroyed climb over 1,000 and even worse, the number of directly related deaths at 7.

After we make our donations to the Red Cross or drop off an air mattress for the evacuation center, our thoughts turn to our own homes and families. Those of us who don't have personal air filters worry about our kids complaints of headaches and sore throats, then convince ourselves that there won't be any long-term effect, all while studying the hazy sky for some sign it might clear up soon. Where are those high winds when we need them to dissipate the clouds of smoke and ash that hang over us?