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News from north-central California
08/19/2020, 23:00:17

    The Elf writes:

    When we woke up this morning, the sky was uniformly yellow--not a sign of blue, pink, or orange--just a yellow haze. We're not in sight of any actual flames, but we could see little black specks of ash settling on Baby Elf's silver-colored car. We're approximately 30 miles away from the nearest fires, where several thousand people had to evacuate in the middle of last night. Interstate 80 has been closed in central California.




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oh, Elf! We didn't know that you lived in *that* part of California....
08/20/2020, 08:33:34

    Bones writes:

    I hope your house isn't one of those surrounded by trees with dry pine needles on the ground. Please keep us informed. <3




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Oh, no--we're pretty safe
08/20/2020, 11:47:30

    The Elf writes:

    The city where I live is in The California Delta. (There are actual excursion riverboats and cargo ships going from here to San Francisco.) This is also the northern end of the San Joaquin (pronounced Wah-KEEN) Valley, which is mostly agriculture. I grew up at the southern end, in Bakersfield. This city is consistently about 10 degrees cooler than Bakersfield, with a little more rain. Bakersfield's main crops are potatoes, seedless grapes, cotton, oranges, and most of California's carrots and celery. (You may have eaten Grimmway Farms' "baby carrots," which are large, mature carrots whittled down to little-finger size.) Here we grow mostly tree crops: walnuts, almonds, and peaches. About 10-20 years ago the first pistachios and kiwi fruit were planted, which are now bearing commercial crops. While we do have wine grapes (the late Robert Mondavi established a winery 12 miles away from our house,)it is not fine wine country. Practically all the boxed wines, Trader Joe's "two- (now three-) buck Chuck," and other drinkable cheap wines are produced within 20 miles of our house. The only conifers in our town will have come from nurseries.
    So fear not, dear Bones, we're pretty safe. (Our greatest fire danger is from illegal fireworks every July. Honestly, every year scads of people go over the border to Nevada to buy thousands of dollars worth of fireworks. They get them from the Indian reservations near Reno.)
    There's still a lot of smoke in the air--rather mysterious, because it smells like hickory smoke. AFAIK, hickories don't grow in California. Maybe burning walnuts or pecans smell like hickory--aren't they in the same botanical family?
    Thank you for your concern, but I think we're pretty safe from fires. There have been grass fires that have burned homes locally, but they were next to the freeways. (Our house is three miles either direction from Interstate 5 and old Highway 99, which is also a freeway, but no longer the U. S.'s most-traveled road.)




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According to the noon news:
08/20/2020, 16:15:22

    The Elf writes:

    California has over 100 fires in the state. The firefighters are spread so thin that they have ceased trying to save structures and only work at saving people. No wonder there's so much smoke in the air: the announcer stated that the plume of smoke is 600 miles long--just about the length of the San Joaquin Valley. Travis Air Force Base is under evacuation, along with Fairfield and Vacaville nearby.




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