Spring is here and with it comes irritation from all of the pollen and dust in the air. Looking across the flatland on the far side of the river a layer of haze has settled in for the past few days. During the summer months, it is commonly a precursor to the weather of the day, a hazy morning sky means it will be hot in the afternoon. The spring haze is different, it is a display of moisture in the air from the vegetation and earth drying out.
The wind is up as well expediting the dehydration assisting in turning what was green yellow than in a few weeks golden browns. The wildfire danger is still a month or two down the road, due to the moisture if one starts now it will most likely be short-lived. But in reality now is the time to begin to think about them, the firefighting crews have been preparing all winter. The State of California has dedicated the National Guard to help fight the fires. They have been assigned the task of dropping water from helicopters. Flying over lakes they dip the huge flexible vessels in the water and lift out 2,000 gallons at a time. A substantial amount of water to be lifted high into the air, it weighs 9 tons, 18,000 pounds.
When dropping that amount of weight onto anything presents the risk of collapsing some of the infrastructures. That’s the reason airdrops are not used in structure fires in densely populated areas. The fire that consumed Notre Dame Cathedral is a good example, that much weight had the potential of destroying parts of the structure. If the heavy load were to be released onto a road lined with small shops it would place them and the pedestrians watching in peril.
The smoke is the most obvious danger in our area blown in from the wildfires sometimes two hundred miles away. When the wind conditions are right it is spread far and wide, it shares itself equally. Now is the time for us to gather up our face mask, and air purifiers for inside the house. When the smoke shows up it will be harder to find a supplier than it is now.
The facemask has other uses as well. This time of year those with allergies find relief with the wearing of the devices. Minimal discomfort is to be expected they can be hot and difficult to breathe through when exerting ourselves. Blocking out dust and sawdust while working in the garage is another use for the mask, googles add another level of protection.
PM-10, Particulate Matter <10 microns penetrates our walls putting us at risk inside our homes, wearing the mask indoors is recommended at times. PM-10 from wood fires has particles that are so small they get lodged in the smallest pores of the lungs. They stay in the lungs due to the way they are configured with a fish hook like a barb on the end.
That’s one of the reasons wood ash is hard to dispose of when it is produced by a biomass power plant. The danger exists if the ash is blown into the air placing people at risk. There are uses for it as road base, additives to concrete and use as a cap on waste disposal sites. Compacting tightly, wetted and rolled over it makes a good stable base. Storage is a problem as it will swell and expand when exposed to water, it has been known to bust steel silos wide open.
Unlike the weather in the Mid-North and lower Mid-west, there is time to get ready for the fires. Who would believe snow would be in the forecast this late in the spring? Sure enough one of my Sisters living in Duluth Minnesota has yet to stow their winter gear. Lake Superior is still in spring mode too rough and cold to put the boat in the water.
The farmers are suffering in a major way, corn and other grain fields are flooded in many areas with more water expected. They have nowhere to turn other than the Federal Government, even during disasters as severe as this the wheels grind frustratingly slow. There outta be a law, in my opinion, a program should kick in to assist the farmers in a faster and more efficient manner. I may be naive but checks could be written and the accounting adjustments made later, at the very least enough to help the people survive.
I would be remiss not to mention the murders of late, the Synagog in Southern California, 7 people murdered in Tennesee, at least one murdered and many injured at a cookout in Baltimore.
Waking in the morning I turn on the local news, my interest is Weather (most of us are weather watchers I have discovered), traffic conditions (I don’t commute but it’s still interesting and important) and unfortunately, I tune in for violent crimes. Lying awake in the morning preparing to get up it’s hard not to dread what may have taken place overnight. Hearing updates from the den of all things evil, Politics, is also on the agenda, after rolling my eyes I get down to business.
Watching the news through one cycle and when it begins to be repeated the eye on the world gets shut off for most of the day.
I will beat my drum again, I advocate repealing the Dickey Act of 1996 to enable gun violence to be studied once again to figure out the causes enabling us to find some answers.
I appreciate the time you took to read my blog, Thanks.
Jacques Lebec Natural Self Reliance