Commentary: Heat, Fires, Post-Apocalyptic Landscape Punctuate September in California

Post-apocalyptic scene in Davis as the sun rises through the smoke on Tuesday morning

By David M. Greenwald 

In 1987, I was a freshman in high school in San Luis Obispo.  One miserable day the temperature hit a whopping 111 degrees—the highest in the country that day and the highest ever on record.  I remember that day 33 years later because the heat was so stifling and there was no escape—back then, hardly anywhere had air conditioning.

But in 2017, the temperature topped that at 115.  And then on Sunday, it topped that even that, with a frightening 120 degrees.

“This is unmatched, just unprecedented, unreal,” said John Lindsey, a meteorologist with Pacific Gas and Electric. “These are Death Valley temperatures.  And it’s scary because, with climate change, will this be a regular occurrence?”

In just over 30 years then, the hottest temperature on record went up by more than nine degrees.

That’s not the only record to get shattered.  Here in the valley we have been socked in with smoke and unhealthy air for at least the last two weeks.  And there is no end in sight.  In recent years we have pointed out that the fire season has gone later—lasted longer, been more impactful.

Some of course will point out that we have always had fires.  But guess what—what we are seeing is unprecedented.

September and October are historically the worst fire months in California—with more wind events, fuel that is dry as a bone after months without rain, and late season heat waves.

But this is worse than usual.  Worse than ever.  Over 2 million acres of land have burned, a new record.

Oh and guess what—the previous record was set in just 2018.

Governor Gavin Newsom said on Tuesday that the state was facing an “extraordinary” challenge this wildfire season.

“The word ‘historic’ is a term we use often in the state of California, but these numbers bear fruit,” he said at a press conference.

“It’s a little unnerving because September and October are historically our worst months for fires,” Lynne Tolmachoff, a spokeswoman for Cal Fire added.

We often warn folks that weather and climate are not the same.  The problem is that this is not a one time occurrence—things are getting worse.

Last year was bad—4927 fires by this time.  This year is worse.  7606 fires.

Said Governor Newsom: “The challenge we’re facing now is the extreme fire events that we believe are climate induced.”

Climate change.

Climate change impacts the extremes, but also the average.  People keep saying there have always been fires.  True.  But they are getting worse.

Daniel Swain, a climate scientist at UCLA and the National Center for Atmospheric Research, told CNN it is shocking to the see the impacts of the wildfires in the Western U.S., “but not scientifically surprising.”

The result is that temperatures are climbing higher while vegetation is becoming drier.

“But climate change has not just made the extreme heat waves that coincided with the fires worse. The bigger effect is the more subtle, long-term warming,” he said. “That couple of degrees of (average) warming over decades … you don’t notice it as much, but it’s still there lurking in the background, sucking extra moisture out of the vegetation and the soil.”

Fires are not only destructive, but they have widespread health impacts.

“Of all the climate change exposures we study, heat is the No. 1 killer,” Rupa Basu, chief of air and climate epidemiology for the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, said in an interview last month.

The health impact is not only heat stroke and dehydration, experts are seeing increased risk from chronic illnesses including kidney disease, cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

“Most of the time you won’t see it on a death certificate, because people with underlying conditions are pushed to the edge,” said Dr. Jonathan Fielding, a UCLA professor of public health and medicine.  He is the former L.A. County public health director. “They have a cardiac condition, they have a respiratory condition or other conditions, like COVID. So I’m very concerned about it, and I think it’s really important that people take this very, very seriously.”

California had the worst air quality in the world on Tuesday.  According to some reports, the smoke has caused some of the worst air quality in the world.

NPR’s Nathan Rott, who covers the environment and climate change, recently explained on a podcast, “We do know that climate change increases the odds of vegetation—you know, the trees, brush, grass are dry and ready to burn. So climate change’s fingerprints are kind of all over these extreme fires, even if we can’t say it’s the cause.”

He added, “There’s a whole lot of research showing that climate change is going to make the conditions for extreme fire far more likely in the future, you know, not just here in the U.S., but around the world, so more fires burning at greater intensity in more places than ever before. You know, think about the fires that are also currently burning in Siberia. And it’s not just because we’re getting these kind of crazy record-breaking hot days, it’s that nights are getting hotter, too.”

The key is not just fires, but record fires and record fire years on top of record fire years.  That’s what we are up against.

—David M. Greenwald reporting


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About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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51 Comments

  1. Keith Olsen

    “Most of the time you won’t see it on a death certificate, because people with underlying conditions are pushed to the edge,”

    And it ends up being labelled a COVID death.

    1. Bill Marshall

      Big kernel of truth in that… often death certificates list a secondary, resultant cause, as primary cause… someone with stage 4 pancreatic cancer, hospitalized for last days, primary cause listed as cardio-pulmonary arrest (duh!)… the pancreatic cancer that killed him was listed as secondary

      Right now, no matter what the cause of death, if the person tests positive for Covid, even only post-mortem, it goes into the column, ‘disease du jour’… Covid

  2. David Greenwald

    New report: In the next five years, the world has a nearly 25 percent chance of surpassing the 2.7 degrees (1.5 degrees Celsius) above pre-industrial times, according to a new update released Wednesday by the U.N., World Meteorological Organization and other global science groups.

  3. Robb Davis

    If you are trying to be funny Keith, it is not funny.  If you are repeating false information about cause of death related to COVID-19 then 1) you are either mis-informed, or 2) you are willfully repeating false information.

    In any of the above, I find your comment trivializing of death and loss experienced by many people.

    1. Bill Marshall

      See my 7:40 post… can’t speak to KO’s motivations, but can clearly speak to the fact that COD is oft misreported, as to primary cause… truth be told, it is often the reporting physician or coroner who ‘trivializes’ death, and loss by family, friends… just filling in a line on a form… convenience…

    2. Alan Miller

      RD, I didn’t think KO was trying to be funny.  I have understood there is great difficulty in sorting out primary cause-of-death with Covid-19, especially when the vast majority of Covid-19 deaths are among those with underlying conditions, some of which would have killed them in short-order anyway.  I don’t believe what I’m saying is untrue is it?  I say this as no minimizer when it comes to Covid-19 – very much a believer is masks and distancing and the clear danger this virus presents.

      On a non-medical point, I’m completely baffled by your statement, “I find your comment trivializing of death and loss experienced by many people.”  I guess the fact that you personally find it so makes it true, but I’m at a loss as to why you’d find it so.  KO’s comment, true or not, was not aimed at any individual and was regarding a overall point regarding cause-of-death, but I don’t see how in any way that trivializes anyone’s death or the loss experienced by their loved ones.   This wasn’t about any one case nor implied it applied to all cases, so how could it trivialize anyone’s death?

    3. Keith Olsen

      Robb, here’ the entire sentence, I only referenced the first part.

      Most of the time you won’t see it on a death certificate, because people with underlying conditions are pushed to the edge,” said Dr. Jonathan Fielding, a UCLA professor of public health and medicine.  He is the former L.A. County public health director. “They have a cardiac condition, they have a respiratory condition or other conditions, like COVID. So I’m very concerned about it, and I think it’s really important that people take this very, very seriously.”

      So what do you think will be labelled the cause of death if COVID is involved.

  4. Alan Miller

    Some of course will point out that we have always had fires.

    We have always had fires

    People keep saying there have always been fires.

    There have always been fires.  As you said.  People keep saying that, and other people keep pointing that out.

    California had the worst air quality in the world on Tuesday.

    In the world.

    According to some reports, the smoke has caused some of the worst air quality in the world.

    As you keep saying.

  5. Don Shor

    We are now setting records every year for number and size.

    That’s doubtful.

    Approximately 1.8 million ha burned annually in California prehistorically (pre 1800). Our estimate of prehistoric annual area burned in California is 88% of the total annual wildfire area in the entire US during a decade (1994–2004) characterized as ‘‘extreme’’ regarding wildfires. The idea that US wildfire area of approximately two million ha annually is extreme is certainly a 20th or 21st century perspective. Skies were likely smoky much of the summer and fall in California during the prehistoric period.

    https://nature.berkeley.edu/stephenslab/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Stephens-et-al.-CA-fire-area-FEM-2007.pdf

    What has changed in recent years is the rate of spread, the intensity, and the fire behavior, as well as the increased likelihood of loss of life and property damage due to housing construction in fire-prone areas.

    1. Don Shor

      I took courses in range management and forestry in the 1970’s. Both professors explained that we were about to reap the harvest of seven decades of fire suppression policies. National parks, which had mostly been established within the 20th Century, stopped harvest logging and suppressed fires, so dead trees were allowed to just fall and remain in place. Fires were routinely suppressed in national forests. Native American controlled burns that had been practiced for centuries were no longer allowed. Chaparral, an interrupted-climax plant community maintained by seasonal fires, was building up combustible material just as housing extended into vast acreages of it in Southern California. The net result was going to be fires that burned hotter, spread faster, and did more damage. This was about a decade before climate change was fully recognized and accepted as an evidence-based theory by geophysicists.
      Every aspect of that is increased by climate change. Higher temperatures, drier material, more combustible material. Controlled burns, allowing natural fires to burn under safe conditions, and salvage logging may be important tools in preventing extreme fire events and reducing property damage and loss of lives. But those would require policy changes, and some of those policy changes would surely meet strong resistance. The Yellowstone Fires of 1988 illustrated the whole problem, and there were changes in fire policy there but they were hard-fought and controversial at the time. Implementing them in areas of urban/wildland interface will be even more controversial.
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yellowstone_fires_of_1988#Fire_management_since_1988

      1. Richard McCann

        The logging industry is a huge problem here because they are not satisfied with just salvage logging. They want to be allowed to increase clear cutting substantially on the claim that salvage logging won’t be economically sufficient for them. Whether that’s true is unknown. The alternative is to recognize the benefit of salvage logging and to subsidize it if that’s required, but that doesn’t seem to be up for discussion yet.

      2. Bill Marshall

        Was in a similar class in the early 70’s… everything Don recounts is familiar, and I believe to be correct.  And yes, Yellowstone did fully illustrate the problem… Yosemite was an example of Native American fire management… stopped the encroachment of brush in the meadows, to be more attractive to the game that the NA’s hunted…

        But, it is a two-edged sword (as Don alludes to in the term “controversial”… prescribed burns will protect forests… but, such burns emit CO2… in the balance, I believe prescribed burns, changing policies as to dead trees, harvesting, are a better choice.

        Most of the fires recently, are grassland, and/or chaparral/scrub tree fires… those are natural… and the “record” measurements, are, in CA, less than 3 centuries old… climate works on a ~1,000 year (or much more) cycle… much evidence of that… so the record is 3%… max…

      3. Alan Miller

        those would require policy changes, and some of those policy changes would surely meet strong resistance.

        Trump tried to point this out after the Paradise fires, in his usual offensive, bungling way, and God knows if he even understood what he was talking about — but he did try to point out that California’s forest management practices, as outlined by DS, may have contributed to the problem.  He was condemned and accused of attacking California for political purposes, which he probably was, but that doesn’t mean he was wrong.

        1. Ron Oertel

          Trump tried to point this out after the Paradise fires, in his usual offensive, bungling way, and God knows if he even understood what he was talking about —

          Are you referring to the “raking the forest” comment, after the Paradise fire?  😉

          The problem (as Richard pointed out) is that the stuff that burns is generally the stuff that loggers don’t want.

          They want the large trees that survive fires.

          Meanwhile, get that rake ready.

        2. Don Shor

          Trump tried to point this out after the Paradise fires, in his usual offensive, bungling way, and God knows if he even understood what he was talking about — but he did try to point out that California’s forest management practices, as outlined by DS, may have contributed to the problem.

          1. It isn’t “California’s” forest management practices. This state isn’t unique in forest management practices.
          2. The federal government owns something like 60% of the forest land in California, including the majority of the land near where he made his statement.
          3. He coupled it with repeated threats to cut off funding.
          I am disinclined to attribute veracity to someone who clearly doesn’t have even the slightest understanding of the topic.

        3. Ron Oertel

          Based upon recent comments from Newsom, I understand that they actually have a pretty good working-relationship, despite Trump’s comments. (I can probably find the applicable quote, if anyone is interested.)

          I’m not aware of any funding that Trump has actually cut to California in regard to fighting fires, etc.

          If one looks at the area around Lake Berryessa (for example), good luck with “forest management” around there.

      4. Darell Dickey

        And I took a similar class in the…. 80’s. ‘Cause I’m super young. (I color my hair gray for the respect it inspires, and because nobody cards me for beer).

        And what I learned then, and have continued to learn since: Humans basically suck at trying to “manage” anything that nature has her heart set on doing. We try to “manage” one thing, and then have to manage another, and ten more and then….  Next thing we know, we are *removing* dams, we are trying to get rid of purposefully-introduced predators, we are trying to burn things that we once desperately tried to protect from fire. One of my favorites is trying to sequester CO2 instead of… maybe… producing less of it.

         

        It. Never. Ends.

        At some point we have to figure out how to fit in with what nature is going to serve up, instead of doing all these crazy things to bend it to our desires.

        Hint: Having the logging industry (or ANYBODY) decide how to “manage” our forests is bat-guano crazy.

        1. Ron Oertel

          How true.

          Seems to me that nature (of which humans are ultimately a product of) ultimately “manages” its species, not the other-way around.

          Unless one believes that humankind was pre-ordained to hold dominion, over all else.  After all, we know that other animals (for example) have no feelings or thought processes, let alone a “soul”.

          I digress, though. Weren’t we talking about Covid? 😉

        2. Ron Oertel

          (Otherwise known as the lowly “natural” virus, taking down some of the mighty humans. And yet, looks like something that might be hung on a Christmas tree, up-close. Sorry – “holiday” tree.)

          Yeah, yeah – I know – off topic.

        3. Alan Miller

          ‘Cause I’m super young. (I color my hair gray for the respect it inspires, and because nobody cards me for beer).

          Ten Thousand Laughs!

          Humans basically suck at trying to “manage” anything that nature has her heart set on doing. We try to “manage” one thing, and then have to manage another, and ten more and then….

          So true.  This is also true of the laws of economics and why I don’t believe in A-ffordable housing and so many forms of “guvmunt giving”:.  We try to “manage” one thing, and then have to manage another, and ten more and then…. and before long we not only have people getting welfare or unemployment, but affordable housing, food stamps, free transit, etc.  Can’t we just up the welfare, adjust for housing prices, and cut all the other programs?  Keep it simple . . .

  6. Robb Davis

    The comments about COVID-19 and my response were off topic and I will not continue them.  If anyone wants to engage me about this topic please feel free to contact me at robbathome@gmail.com.  Getting the information correct on cause of death is important this is not the space for me to correct errors.  I apologize for going off topic.

    1. Bill Marshall

      I apologize for going off topic.

      I apologize for feeding into KO’s digression… but it hit a nerve… both my parents’ death certificates had the primary and secondary causes reversed… different reasons… one I believe was a ‘cover-up’… the other, carelessness… proximate cause, but not primary cause…

      Theoretically, every death could be listed as cardio-pulmonary failure… even three gunshots to the brain…

      1. Alan Miller

        WM, same with some of my close relatives, and yes I emphasize and yes it’s upsetting.  Cause of death is a very inexact science — dealing with taking the intricacies of the human body failing and trying to condense that onto a government form.

        But . . . it never occurred to me to take offense from KO’s comment and personalize it as an offense to a family member.   I really don’t understand this line of thinking.

        My sense in most of these comments is they feed into the bizarre thought process that some left-leaning folk have that conservatives are automatically heartless, which goes against the encounters I’ve had with a majority of said right-leaners, shocking as that might be to some of you.  Granted, I’ve encountered my share of varying degrees of depth of members of the racist sect of conservatives, and find them as vile as the rest y’all.

        But I do believe you WM, that this truly upset you, so I don’t mean to discount your reaction, only to say I don’t understand it – and that for others I often doubt the sincerity of such comments.

        1. Ron Oertel

          My sense in most of these comments is they feed into the bizarre thought process that some left-leaning folk have that conservatives are automatically heartless,

          Good point, and may be part of the reason.

          The other part being that this is a blog, which seems to bring out the worst in people’s assumptions about others.  And, resulting defensiveness.

          And for some people, personal attacks seem to be a “sport”.

        2. Alan Miller

          I often get the feeling that disagreements here are perceived as personal attacks, but if the other person is clearly ‘wrong’ politically, attacks upon them are OK, because, well, y’know . . .

        3. Ron Oertel

          That is true, as well.

          Again, maybe the nature of blogs (and to some degree, the interests and nature of those who comment on them).

          I figure that I’m about the only “normal” person on here. (Self-deprecating sarcasm intended.) Though perhaps with an “extraordinary” amount of insight.

          And if anyone disagrees with that, I take offense. 😉

        4. Ron Oertel

          Maybe, but seems pretty close:

          https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/blog

          It is definitely an online political publication, not primarily intended as a source of “news” or “information” in the same manner as say, The Enterprise.

          Most articles that appear on here do so for a “reason” that is in alignment with the primary author / founder’s political views. That is not necessarily the case, with more “traditional” publications (which report on a wider variety of topics, as well).

        5. Keith Olsen

          Welcome

          To all:

          Most in Davis this summer find ways to escape the heat in the comfort of the air conditioned homes, the cool of the pool, or the leisure of a well-time vacation. For some of us though, this summer has ushered in dark times and dark events in the second-most-educated city in the country.

          For the last year, a movement has been growing in the city of Davis. People of color, the few that there are in Davis, have been speaking out, coming out, and calling out for help. Numerous stories of police abuse and misconduct have arisen in the media, even more have been held just outside of the limelight of the Davis Enterprise, the guardians of the order and the status quo.

          This confrontation reached a flashpoint in April and May of this year, as the establishment struck back. A 16-year-old girl was arrested for a hit-and-run bumper-bender in a Safeway parking lot in June of 2005. The family has accused Davis Police Officer Pheng Ly of various violations of state and federal law in addition to violations of Davis Police Department procedure. The family spent over $100,000 defending their daughter from criminal charges brought forth by the District Attorney’s office. Finally, April, it seemed over, the judge dismissed the charges.

          In effect, what the judge is purported to have said, is that in juvenile cases, when a civil settlement is reached, the state’s interest ends and the case is considered closed. This is per the official policy of the City of Davis, a policy that encourages parties to settle things civilly rather than criminally. In a small damage, no injury case such as this one it makes sense.

          So why did the DA bring charges? According to the family, the DA brought charges because the family was planning to sue the city. Deputy DA Patti Fong said this to Judge Warriner in court–multiple times. The family has now filed suit against the Davis Police Department and the District Attorney’s Office.

          Where this case turns bizarre is that once the Judge dismissed the charges, the DA’s office and in particular Patti Fong, released private tapes of the juvenile affair into the press. The Davis Enterprise posted the tapes containing very private information about the family and also the victim in this, Ms. Wonhoff. Columnist Bob Dunning, published for weeks about the mistreatment of Officer Ly. Editor Debbie Davis proclaimed that Officer Ly was “doing his job and doing it well.” And Mayor Ruth Asmundson apologized to Officer Ly on behalf of the city and later said that the 16-year-old learned her lesson.

          The story gets more bizarre, as right after the city council elections, the Police Chief resigns and blames the Human Relations Commission and specifically the Chair for creating a climate of intolerance. The lame-duck Davis City Council then acts on this, and dismisses the Human Relations Commission. The Human Relations Commission acted as the only body that people of color could come to, to air their grievances with their treatment.

          Now the ruling cabal of the Davis City Council–led by Don Saylor and including Stephen Souza and Ruth Asmundson, have conspired to rob Sue Greenwald of her rightful place as Mayor of Davis. There were rumors for weeks that they would refuse to seat her altogether. Then there were rumors that they’d give her a month and then proclaim her out of control and ineffective. They might just completely ignore her, and name whomever they want to whatever committees they want, and effectively rule the city with a 3-2 majority.

          Watching this unfold last week, I realize I must act. This blog will be the voice of truth for the City of Davis. This blog will expose the lies and deceptions whether they come from the City Council, the Davis Police Department, the DA’s Office, or the City Manager. This blog will be the source of hard-hitting reporting and news that you will not get from the Davis Enterprise.

          .
          https://www.davisvanguard.org/2006/07/welcome/

        6. Ron Oertel

          Now the ruling cabal of the Davis City Council–led by Don Saylor and including Stephen Souza and Ruth Asmundson, have conspired to rob Sue Greenwald of her rightful place as Mayor of Davis.

          I can’t imagine David writing anything like this, today (in regard to someone with Sue Greenwald’s views.)

          My, how the Vanguard blog has changed.

        7. Alan Miller

          Watching this unfold last week, I realize I must act. This blog will be the voice of truth for the City of Davis. This blog will expose the lies and deceptions whether they come from the City Council, the Davis Police Department, the DA’s Office, or the City Manager. This blog will be the source of hard-hitting reporting and news that you will not get from the Davis Enterprise.

          Sounds like the intro-scene to full-length feature super-hero film, introducing the new character’s super powers and how he came to fight for what’s right — I mean left.  (Deep dramatic voice:)  “Tired of the lies and deceptions of Gotham Town, he bought a computer and became:  Davis Blog-O-Man:  He writes a blog (his super-power)”.

        8. Alan Miller

          This blog will be the voice of truth for the City of Davis. This blog will expose the lies and deceptions whether they come from the City Council, the Davis Police Department, the DA’s Office, or the City Manager.

          He left out developers.

          My, how the Vanguard blog has changed.

          Maybe, not so much.

    2. Alan Miller

      The comments about COVID-19 and my response were off topic and I will not continue them.

      KO was commenting on a line in the article, so by definition it’s not off topic.  I defend KO and say those comments were on topic. I also don’t believe he was trying to “divert” from anything, he was simply commenting on that line. Do any of you honestly believe KO or anyone else has such great “powers of diversion” ???

      Here’s a suggestion, start a new thread, as y’all did, and talk about what you want to talk about, and not wast more bandwidth falling on your swords of righteousness apologizing for your transgressing, while in actuality passive-aggressively attacking KO for sin of ‘attempted diversion of a comment thread topic’. Jeez!!!

      1. Robb Davis

        Got it.  My comments, and no one else’s, were out of line.  I regret it and will not use the VG in the future to promote agenda items that have nothing to do with the storyline.  My apologies—sincerely.

        1. Alan Miller

          Apology accepted.  My room exploded as my ego is now larger than the room, knowing I have the power to change someone’s commenting behavior.  But seriously, I never said your comments were out of line nor do I feel that they were.  You are certainly welcome to misinterpret what I say and feel any way you want to based on that misinterpretation.

      2. Bill Marshall

        Actually, Alan my first post on this thread was in defense of KO’s… I pointed to a “kernel of truth”… was actually more sensitive to RD’s dismissal of KO’s observation that right now, if someone dies, and happens to be Covid positive, the assumption is that Covid killed them…

        1. Alan Miller

          I think we all just need to take a deep breath . . .

          . . . if only we could.  October, maybe?

          Fire threatening Paradise again . . . maybe best just not to rebuild that place, eh?  What is this human need to re-build after Ma Nature has made her message clear (‘Not Here’).

           

        2. Bill Marshall

          Ma Nature can be real insistent… years ago, saw a new subdivision on the ‘Big Island’, covered in 4-6 feet of lava… Measure K(iluea)… won’t be repealed for like 100 k years…

  7. Todd Edelman

    Right now there are thousands of rental rooms and apartments in the City without adequate protection from heat and/or particle pollution. For the same reason many are very energy-inefficient. The specific causes are e.g. non-updated windows, total lack of AC or old AC equipment that cannot support the MERV 13 or equivalent filter media that is, for example, part of the Lincoln40 HVAC design  (and for other new rental housing). HEPA air cleaners start at $100 per room, and the hygiene efficacy of less expensive systems is not clear.

    The only requirement for existing rental housing is that windows and doors lock! Of course, any new window or door that’s installed has to be of a certain standard. They’re expensive, but I’ve seen many rentals of the same price with a wide range of… climate efficacy.

    More acutely – but soon with more chronic effects – the City has not issued a temporary ban on use of leaf blowers despite the more or less continual wildfire fallout event since the middle of August. They did this before… at the end of the Camp Fire event. I’ve asked repeatedly, also of the County Health Officer who probably has the power to make the same call. No response of substance from a soul, except from Sutter Davis when I complained to them about being dropped off for a post-surgical appointment on a bad AQI day… and people were leaf blowing in the immediate area. Credit to them, though I’ve not heard if they are going to change policy.

    The NRC asked for the temporary ban on approximately August 25th, after their most recent meeting where they also put forward their report on the wider use of leaf blowers. My understanding is that Council will be addressing this on September 15th.

    The City has been promoting the multi-purpose room in the Senior Center as a cooling OR clean air shelter, but never it seems on the same day, even if bad conditions were simultaneous. Unfortunately the Senior Center’s HVAC only has MERV 8 filter media, which does not do much for wildfire fallout. There may be other qualities of the space that help, but it’s not clear. I asked for Staff to determine the AQI. No response. It’s not clear how much of a clean air shelter it is.

    Homeowners who live without subletters etc can decide their own domestic air and temperature hygiene strategy. Renters, who have little control over the situation, and also not very good understanding, need protection. I suggest we implement some short term fixes now, but at the same time initiate a Rental Housing Climate Hygiene program that will respond to the very clear needs in this area and most likely be based on the latest residential housing requirements in Davis (or the County, etc.). It’s unfortunately not clear if this is a task for e.g. the NRC and Social Services… or should also be a collaboration with County Health and Yolo Solano AQMD, or UC entities such as the Western Cooling Efficiency Center.

    1. Alan Miller

      While I am being cautious with my lungs, wearing particle masks outside, closing off inside as best I can in old house — noticed a couple of people oft outside, who shall remain anonymous, taking no precautions.  I mentioned to one and his response was “I’m a smoker” (realized other was too).  All the more reason I thought, but then realized, every day is a bad air day when you smoke, so what’s a little smoke from a forest fire?

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