The smoke is heavy today, like squinting into a fogged-up mirror after a shower. Our air quality index jumped up to Hazardous, the highest designation on the scale, and we're definitely feeling it. I would have vastly preferred to keep everyone at home with the house closed up, but we had an important meeting in town this afternoon that couldn't be rescheduled, and had to take the kids with us; Matt carried Little Bear and I carried Kit, and we covered their faces and hurried between truck and buildings as quickly as possible. We put off all of our other errands, hoping that the smoke dissipates by tomorrow afternoon... They're saying it's possible. I find it hard to believe, looking out the window now, but most of the smoke blew in overnight so I suppose it could all leave overnight again. We can pray it does!
There are quite a few fires close enough to be sending smoke our way, though not nearly close enough for us to be concerned. With 3.1 million acres burned across the state so far this year, we're on track to tie or surpass our worst fire season on record: 6.6 million acres burned in 2004. We've already passed the 2009 record of 2.9 million acres, a fire season I vividly remember; several large fires were close enough to town that we had duffles packed in case an evacuation order went out, and the smoke was so thick that our hands and faces were dirty after biking to or from work. We joked that we now lived in Mordor, but half the time it didn't really feel like we were joking. Hopefully we don't come to that this year!