Where there’s smoke

Welcome to this week’s Reno News & Review.

Sunday evening, I was driving back into Reno from my mom’s place south of town, and I looked to the west and saw what appeared to be a grotesque science-fiction planet low on the horizon—a tomato red monstrosity. It actually took me a second to recognize that it was indeed our sun, made unfamiliar from all the haze and smoke.

It was strange, scary and beautiful—a memorable sight, but certainly not worth all the destruction it takes to fill the air with enough smoke to create that brilliant effect.

The Perry Fire south of Pyramid Lake is the closest blaze. Thousands of acres have burned, threatening the homes of dozens of our neighbors, as well as the lives of livestock and wild animals of the area. And there are a dozen or so more fires burning all over Northern California—including the massive Carr Fire near Redding, California, which has already claimed at least half a dozen lives.

All of these fires have sent ash and smoke spewing into the air, meaning that this city, along with many others, has been buried beneath a blanket of smoky fog—smog. Gross to see, filthy on the skin, bad for the lungs. Of course, dealing with fire is much, much worse for people who encounter it directly or whose homes are threatened.

So, brush up on all your fire safety tips, folks. Stay indoors when you can. Now’s a good time to quit smoking cigarettes. Don’t flick lit matches into dried-out grass.

August is just beginning. Fire season is only going to get worse.