102 degrees outside. Fires are burning in both Northern and Southern California. The once late-summer fire season is now happening in June. California heat is dry heat, low humidity, good for your hair, bad for fire.
Four weeks ago we had rain. Then an explosion of pollen. Then a slow start to summer. Now it is here, full blast. We went from sweaters to shorts overnight.
I raked the dead pine needles and leaves out from under my huge hedge. I raked the pine needles under the tree adjacent to my hedge, even though it is in the park next door.
Why, you ask?
The number one thing a person can do to protect his or her property from fire is to create defensible space around said property. I filled up my green can and then borrowed the neighbor’s since he is in Hawaii. The overflow went into my worker lady’s truck, since her green can is empty this week. She raked and worked in the heat today until I made her come inside and eat some ice cream and drink soda.
It’s too hot to walk the dogs. The asphalt would burn the pads on their feet. We’ll go out at sunset, like we have for the past two nights. The downside, I found out, is that something lives in the clump of native grass in the front yard, and the Jack Russell wants to get it and kill it. It’s not her fault; she was bred to root out the animals. Still, I don’t want a dead skunk, feral cat or jack rabbit in her mouth when she emerges from the bush.
And so it goes. I spent the super hot Sunday reading an interesting biography and doing some writing. Even the Unauthorized Rolling Stones couldn’t get me to come out to the park where my friends gathered for some hot dancing. It isn’t one of my top five bands, so the cool house won out.
Today the house is not as cool as yesterday. I might have to turn on the AC. The attic insulation kept it nice in here yesterday, but three days in a row has taken a toll on things. The hall thermometer says it’s 78 degrees in here — maybe in the hallway, but not in the rest of the house.
I had a cold salad for lunch. I will have something else cold in an hour or so. There’s no fan in the main room (facing west) with the vaulted ceiling. It used to be my formal living room, but then I got rid of that furniture and flipped it into my family room. The family room is now the dining room. The dining room is now part of my expanded kitchen. Everything is more spacious now. Who needed that old sofa bed anyway?
Urban fires are the new norm, they tell us. The neighborhood in Santa Rosa that went up in flames two years ago and the town of Paradise that burned down last fall has shown us Californians that we are all vulnerable to fire. We have to do everything we can to be prepared. The power company is turning off power in places with high winds and low humidity as a precautionary measure. It is an inconvenience, but after 88 people in Paradise lost their lives, it is the sensible thing to do.
It’s a good reason to keep supplies in the cars: dog food, leashes, protein bars, water. Everything else is replaceable.
If you still don’t believe in climate change, come visit. Feel the heat. Feel the 25-30 mph winds. Never in my thirty-three years in California has this been the norm in June.
There’s trouble in paradise. I am ready.