New York Times Opinion Section

Not Burned, but Suffocated

Like much of wildfire-ravaged Northern California, my hometown is engulfed in a smoky, hazardous haze.

This morning, a long red shadow stretched over my desk. The sun rose with the unsettling neon color of an orange highlighter; the shifty outdoor air, with its brownish-blue tint, subtly promising another day of toxic air, of sour smoke.

Like much of fire-ravaged Northern California, my hometown is engulfed in a smoggy haze. A week since the fires broke out, our air is not getting better. In fact, it has gotten worse., a website that charts air quality throughout every state, has designated huge swaths of California as having an Air Quality index of 193 — the top range of the “unhealthy zone” and only a few points away from the 200-point “very unhealthy zone” — the level where “everyone may experience more serious health effects.” The wildfires are polluting air more than 100 miles away.

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