Some people are already feeling the stress of climate change related disasters like wildfires, drought and flooding. Being given a few minutes to pack up and flee your home has got to be stressful. (More)
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I think there is another less obvious kind of climate change induced anxiety that weighs on people in the zone but not in the disaster.
I am in Northern Minnesota and in range of the smoke from the Canadian fires. There are four or five Minnesota fires that are also contributing to the air alerts. The South Kiwishiwi River Ranger station has a Smokey the Bear sign to indicate the level of fire danger. This morning’s was at extremely high.
High winds, high temperatures and low humidity are a powerful combination. Hard on the forests and hard for those who live in it, both critters and humans.
Sunday night was especially smokey here. Tweets from my friends had us together on Facebook comparing notes. Even friends in Duluth (120 miles south) or the Twin Cities (250 miles south) were smelling smoke. The Forest Service does have an incident command center on-line so people can check where fires have been reported. Information can do something to quell anxiety but approaching dark and howling winds don’t help.
In a sense, I am lucky since I live in a camper. There is no packing, there’s just driving off. For most of us around here there is one road into where we are and the same road out. Most of my friends have talked about having a better chance of canoeing out than driving out. Odds are none of us will need to escape but a week’s worth of smokey air and red flags alerts has people on edge.
It could be a long summer.