Saturday, July 2, 2011

It's Official

The fire at Los Alamos is officially the largest fire in state history. That's a record that really didn't need to be broken. The fire is about 104,000 acres. It's working its way north and has burned 6,000 acres of Santa Clara Pueblo, sacred land, according to the Pueblo people.

The fire that until Friday was the largest in state history burned for five months!

Officials at the Los Alamos National Laboratory continue to say the air is not contaminated. They've taken air samples and they say the air is no different than the air around any wildfire. The Environmental Protection Agency is also taking air samples.

The air may not be contaminated with plutonium, but smoke-contaminated air is nothing to sneeze at. Well, actually it is. (Sorry, I couldn't help it.)

This afternoon, the air was free of smoke and very hot, so I turned on the swamp cooler and finally got the house nice and cool. Then around 6:30 this evening, I started to smell the faint smell of smoke, so I turned off the swamp cooler and closed the window. Then I looked outside and saw that the air was turning orangish-brown with smoke. It's hard to explain, but it isn't just that the sky changes color; so does the light and the very air.

Ron had just gotten back from Albuquerque about two hours before the smoke invaded; he's been there during the week for the last three weeks, only coming home for the weekends. He has respiratory "issues" and is very sensitive to smoke and other irritants. He had a long coughing spell that made my coughing spells a few days ago seem mild in comparison. I coughed some, too, and sneezed a couple of times (see, it is something to sneeze at!).

The air quality (or lack of) depends on which way the wind is blowing and Friday evening, it was blowing our way. The smoke got thicker and thicker. I watched as the smoke filled the valley below us. It reminded me of the scene in the movie The Ten Commandments, when the final plague, the Angel of Death in the form of smoke, creeps into Egypt, killing the first born. It was the smoke that killed them, choking the breath, the very life out of them.

In Taos, at least, we're supposed to get some rain every day for the next four or five days. Of course that could mean rain for five minutes, but we're all hoping for more than that. Everyone is hoping for rain in Los Alamos. And Santa Fe. And Hondo. And wherever all the other fires are. There are too many to keep track of the the one in Los Alamos is the main concern. I guess we're just hoping for rain all over the state.

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