Daniel Swain in New York Magazine: California’s Last Fire Season Was a Historic Disaster. This One Might Be Worse.
“Most Californians — their experience with wildfire was seeing it on the evening news, watching the live helicopter shots of the Chaparral burning above Los Angeles,” Swain says. “Maybe seeing a smoke plume in the distance in the summer. For the vast majority of people in California, that was the experience. And then all of a sudden, in the last decade or so, there’s been this dramatic shift. The majority of people in California have had, you know, pretty acute experiences with fire. For almost everybody, this at a minimum involves these smoke storms, these public-health crises, these extreme air-pollution episodes. School is canceled. Work is canceled, unless you’re a farmworker and then they force you to work. The sky turns black. You can’t go outside. It’s scary. And that’s the best case scenario — that’s what essentially everybody has now experienced.”