Ash fell from the sky.
~ The first line of Brandon Sanderson’s book, The Final Empire

For the second time in my life, ash is literally falling from the sky, covering my home, my yard, my street. The first time was when I was eight years old, when a volcano erupted less than 60 miles from my home. That was Mount St. Helens, and I still remember ash covering everything for several days, like grey snow.

Today, 37 years later, ash is covering everything once again. It’s not nearly as thick this time, but it’s effects are much worse. It’s brown instead of grey. Instead of volcanic ash, it’s the remains of dead trees. Instead of a dark sky like during the eclipse a few weeks ago, this time the sky is brown, like the sun is dying. The view out of my front porch this morning looked like this:

The air outside is thick and it’s hard to breathe. I’ve had an extremely dry throat and clogged sinuses during the past few days, bordering on pain, constantly having to clear my throat, and coughing sporadically. And I’m one of the lucky ones, since I not only have filtered central air conditioning in my house, but I also have two of the best air filters you can buy, the Alen Breathesmart. As usual with my aging and longevity goals, I bought them many years ago to ensure I’m always breathing the highest air quality possible (when I’m not traveling, that is). One is in my office where I work all day, and the other is in my bedroom where I sleep. These things are amazing, with air quality detectors that show blue for good, yellow for fair, and red for bad. They’re normally both blue. In the last few days, they’ve been cranking on overdrive, 24/7, showing red or yellow.

Most people are not fortunate enough to have these kinds of systems in their homes. All around me when I go out, people are coughing, sneezing, rubbing their eyes, shaking ash out of their hair, and experiencing horrible allergies.

My backyard porch looks like this. If you look carefully you can see the ash fragments covering it:

I’m fortunately just far enough away from from the fires that I don’t need to evacuate, but just a few miles away, places that were green and beautiful now look like something out of Dante’s Inferno. Here are some real comparison photos taken by people in my area in the last few days.

The cause of all this devastation? Record heat combined with some teenagers who were throwing fireworks into a dry forest a few days ago.

No point in getting angry. We’ll always have stupid people. It is what it is. And nature is a self-correcting system, so the forests will grow back someday.

With the eclipse, then the floods, then this, it’s been a strange few weeks. (And now we have another hurricane. Yay. Maybe it will come up to my neck of the woods and blow this damn ash away.)

Oh well. I’m in Philadelphia next month to do some seminars, then I take my entire family to Vegas in October, then I’m off to Dubai in November. Regardless of the darkness, I still live a good life. Can’t complain.

15 thoughts on “My Home Is Surrounded by Forest Fires

  1. Hey Caleb,

    I’ve been doing research on countries for my own customized five flags plan, and there’s something I need your opinion on.

    In terms of countries you’re considering for residency, how much does a country’s natural disasters weigh into your decision?

    For instance, do you completely avoid countries with specific serious disasters (hurricanes) while tolerating countries with less dangerous ones (heatwaves)? Or do you simply set a high standard and refuse any country with any natural disasters at all? I don’t even know if countries that never have natural disasters even exist or not.

    Of course I suppose living in two revolving apartments in two countries, with about six months residency each, would mitigate such issues.

    I was considering the Caribbean for residency…until I remembered how bad the hurricanes and how unintelligible the local Spanish accent is. Lots of curvy women with low asd though, plus low living expenses. Pity.

  2. I did hear some complaints about the fact that these forest fires weren’t reported as much as they should in the national news. The consensus on why is that is that the mainstream media doesn’t want to show white people dealing competently with a natural disaster. Might sound very twisted but you know how the MSM is these days. It might put the ones in charge of the Houston floods in shame.

     

    Also, I hope things go well for you. Stay safe!

     

    I was considering the Caribbean for residency…until I remembered how bad the hurricanes

    Apparently this one they have now, I think it’s called Irma, seems it could become the first cathegory 6 hurricane ever recorded. Experts are expecting entire villages and/or cities to be leveled, or so I’ve read somewhere. Might be BS though.

    and how unintelligible the local Spanish accent is.

    Can confirm it. Third-world Spanish is a horrible thing.

  3. In terms of countries you’re considering for residency, how much does a country’s natural disasters weigh into your decision?

    It weighs heavily.

    For instance, do you completely avoid countries with specific serious disasters (hurricanes) while tolerating countries with less dangerous ones (heatwaves)? Or do you simply set a high standard and refuse any country with any natural disasters at all? I don’t even know if countries that never have natural disasters even exist or not.

    The latter. I would never live in Puerto Rico because of the hurricanes, but I would consider living in New Zealand despite them having minor earthquakes. Like you said, pretty much everywhere in the world has disasters; you’ve got to choose the least bad.

    Of course I suppose living in two revolving apartments in two countries, with about six months residency each, would mitigate such issues.

    Exactly.

    I was considering the Caribbean for residency…until I remembered how bad the hurricanes and how unintelligible the local Spanish accent is. Lots of curvy women with low asd though, plus low living expenses. Pity.

    It’s a great place to visit, but I would never live in the Caribbean as my primary residence. Do you really want your entire life blown down by a fucking hurricane every few years? I don’t.

    I did hear some complaints about the fact that these forest fires weren’t reported as much as they should in the national news. The consensus on why is that is that the mainstream media doesn’t want to show white people dealing competently with a natural disaster. Might sound very twisted but you know how the MSM is these days. It might put the ones in charge of the Houston floods in shame.

    I’ve heard the same, and I can’t really disagree.

    Apparently this one they have now, I think it’s called Irma, seems it could become the first cathegory 6 hurricane ever recorded.

    Yep, if you live anywhere in the Gulf region you’re asking for hurricane trouble. No thanks.

  4. The cause of all this devastation? Record heat combined with some teenagers who were throwing fireworks into a dry forest a few days ago.

    Fireworks don’t cause forest fires. Oh sure – they’ll provide the initial spark. But the are not the cause. Smokey Bear was lying – “YOU!” cannot stop forest fires. .If the weather is hot and dry, and the winds are blowing, and there’s dry fuel on the ground, then the forest will inevitably go up in flames.

    The weather gets warmer, the glaciers retreat, and the pine beetles come north, killing the trees, turning them to dead wood. Idiots complain about organized preventative burns because the smoke gets in the laundry, and the fuel just builds up. Companies take away the large trees that suppressed the growth of brush. And clowns back in the 50’s decided that seeding California with Eucalyptus was a good idea.

    Come to Australia, man, if you want to see a eucalyptus fire. Every ten years or so the drought comes, and the gum trees shed branches to conserve water, and those branches lie dead on the ground. The fires can boil the sap in the trees, and the trees explode.

    There is not a worldwide conspiracy of scientists. Scientists are like a bag of cats: they don’t conspire, they maul one another. If 90% of experts on a topic agree on something, it’s only rarely that they are wrong.

    You’ll see more fires. Over the years, the ecosystem will permanently change, will settle into a new stable state. It’s happened before. It’s just that we weren’t there to watch it and breathe the smoke.

  5. It’s just another signs that you should do another FREE podcast on BD blog.

    I’m serious, Caleb.

    I’ll get around to doing another eventually. For now I’m doing free podcasts over at the Alpha 2.0 Community. It’s free to join.

  6. Do you have or have you considered getting potted plants to improve your air quality?

    Areca Palm, Money Plant, Mother-in-laws Tongue are supposed to be some of the best for indoor plants that get toxins out of the air.

     

  7. Do you have or have you considered getting potted plants to improve your air quality?

    Yes! I’d like to get some plants in my home. Right now I have none. I’m sort of waiting on PF to move in so she can take charge of that.

    Areca Palm, Money Plant, Mother-in-laws Tongue are supposed to be some of the best for indoor plants that get toxins out of the air.

    Interesting. I’ve made a note on that and will research further.

    Having a Money Plant sounds good to me!

  8. Hey Caleb,

    I’m curious. You mentioned that you’re visiting Dubai for your five flags plan. I understand that the UAE has a relatively low risk of natural disasters, but I thought you refused to consider living in any Muslim countries? Which aspects about Dubai appealed to you so much?

    By the way, which parts of the world does your research indicate to be less prone to catastrophic disasters?

    My problem with reports on natural disasters by country is that while some reports state that a city is extremely susceptibility to harm (Hong Kong’s hurricanes and floods), others claim that the city’s effective infrastructure mitigates such risk to practically zero (Hong Kong’s drainage system). The reports are kind of confusing.

    Any tips on how to approach this kind of info? I’m pretty much stuck in this research quagmire.

  9. You mentioned that you’re visiting Dubai for your five flags plan. I understand that the UAE has a relatively low risk of natural disasters, but I thought you refused to consider living in any Muslim countries?

    Correct and my plan hasn’t changed. I’m looking at Dubai not for my Country A, but for my Country C and/or D, as I described here. I would never live in Dubai, but I may do business there or base business entities or investments there. Or I may not. I’m just researching at this point. And enjoying myself.

    Which aspects about Dubai appealed to you so much?

    A somewhat pro-business environment (at least for the locals) and lots of rich people, which always provides opportunity.

    By the way, which parts of the world does your research indicate to be less prone to catastrophic disasters?

    Too many to list here. Primarily the areas away from hurricane zones, earthquake zones, and where it doesn’t flood a lot. Not hard to find.

    My problem with reports on natural disasters by country is that while some reports state that a city is extremely susceptibility to harm (Hong Kong’s hurricanes and floods), others claim that the city’s effective infrastructure mitigates such risk to practically zero (Hong Kong’s drainage system). The reports are kind of confusing.

    Any tips on how to approach this kind of info?

    Usual, ignore what everyone says and focus 100% on the actual history. Does HK actually have big horrible floods all the time? Is it hit by devastating hurricanes all the time? If so, what kinds of damage is actually caused? With a few quick Google searches you can find out.

  10. Second to that!
    Please create podcast on how can we as an Alpha Male 2.0 to conduct “stress test” that will happen on our life, and be OK with that.

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