The air quality here in Livermore has been, for the last week, horrendous. The Camp Fire up in Paradise has been blowing smoke south and it hit critical mass last week Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday with the Air Quality Index (AQI) going as high at 293. That’s considered Very Unhealthy and borderline Hazardous (an AQI of 300 is the line).
I quit smoking eight years ago and haven’t looked back, I still get the occasional urge to light up a cigarette, but they’re small potatoes compared to when I first quit. I haven’t felt so out of breath and tight-chested since I quit. Even when I wasn’t doing anything even remotely like exercise and ballooned up to 300-plus pounds. I walked up three flights of stairs today and damn-near passed out! These are the same flights I climb regularly without any issues or problems, but today I felt like I needed to sit down.
If you have access to an N95 or better-rated face mask, wear it. I’ve found that while driving, I need to wear a mask or I’ll start to feel really tight in the lungs. I can’t stress enough how dangerous this air is and it’s been here. No, this isn’t the same as camping and sitting around the fire at night, you’re actually in the fire at this point and have been for almost two weeks. This is causing permanent damage to people and Kaiser in Livermore actually ran out of Albuteral last week and are just now getting restocked.
Where does this leave us? Right now, praying for rain, which should hit us later this week. That said, though, DO NOT go out in the rain for the first day or two when it hits. Because of all the crap in the air right now, we’re going to get very close to acid rain while the skies are cleared of all these toxins. So, my beautiful children of the forest, cover up for this next storm: there’ll be plenty of puddles to splash in after the air has cleared!