Thursday, August 6, 2009

"Alaska: God's Ash-tray" editorial

Back from my extended hiatus (I'll be slowly catching up on the backlog of blog posts from my adventures over the next coupla weeks here) and the biggest thing upon my return to Interior Alaska is the insane wildfire season: over 2.5 million acres have burned across the state, but there are a dozen or so in the vicinity of Fairbanks that are really making life a little difficult. Conditions being such as they are for so long now there is a perfect recipe for disaster what with such a hot, dry summer, and multiple blazes have joined up into what is termed "complexes," some spanning hundreds of thousands of acres. Plus given the unique situation of our geographical location we are currently inundated with thick smoke nomatter which direction the wind blows, affecting health and limiting visibility: the above shot is taken at the foot of my hill where the cabin is - you can't even see the surrounding hills.

Couple nights ago we packed up emergency gear and valuables (mine comprised of the backup/storage external drive + some sketchbooks - funny to see what one considers important in life) and dug up the kitty-carriers just to be prepared for an evacuation. One of the fires is approximately just 15 miles away, and is now Priority One for the crews so as to keep it from running into Goldstream Valley, a comparatively heavily populated area just outside the city. Couldn't see more than a hundred yards, and it is eerie to sit in the outhouse and hear absolutely nothing: the woods are totally silent, not even any mosquitoes, just ash slowly falling.

Still, sitting at home alone in such circumstances life goes on as usual for me, which means making fun of it...

*Update 8/20/09: And wouldn't you know it, after talking with my editor it turns out some folks were offended enough to complain about God smoking. Somehow I think He can do whatever He wants, or at least won't have to worry about getting cancer...

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