Imagine it is the morning of your 25th wedding anniversary and there is a strange red glow coming from your curtains. You pull back the curtains and everything is imbued with an orange red fog. Even your teenage son, who normally is in a state of being unimpressed by things, was shocked and took a picture of it.
Since the climate change driven extreme wildfires began in 2017, we were accustomed to unhealthy to very unhealthy air from wildfire smoke. While children elsewhere have snow days, kids here have had a smoke day, when the air hit dangerous. The smoke seasons of 2017, 2018, and 2019 did not prepare us for this day of red skies. Fortunately, the smoke was actually far enough up in the atmosphere that it wasn't a health hazard at all. It was just ominous and suggested some dystopia had found us. This video of my native city cemented the comparison to Blade Runner.
Earlier, in March someone got drone footage of the City emptied by COVID shelter-in-place that still stirs up emotions and a tear. Even though I moved away from it and live just north over the Golden Gate, it is still my town. Having had a lifetime of memories in this city, my mind still has trouble processing these videos.
The Verge had a great write up about these red skies. The day of red skies will be forever burnt into my memories of 2020, but I also know this could very likely to happen again and perhaps worse. Every fire season gets increasingly worse.
What happened in 2020 all started with a dry electrical storm on August 16th, 2020. It was a hot, dry, and windy Summer. We all held our breath that the electrical storm would not start fires. I remember staying up and heading to the cottage to watch the lightning storm from the windows. It was beautiful but hard to capture on my iphone. So I just took it in knowing there will be plenty of footage of them across the region. Unfortunately, this big and weird lightning storm would create a record wildfire season that created these red skies.