We had a BRIEF spell of clearing in the early evening yesterday. It was as though God opened the heavens and let the sun through! I could take off my respirator, and I could even see the trees on the western mountain. Then, after about two hours, the smoke rolled back in again. *sigh* Yesterday, on my way in to Medford, visibility was down to a little less than a mile due to smoke. Air quality conditions have continually remained in the unhealthy to hazardous levels. It's been a nightmare. EVERYTHING smells like smoke - your clothing, hair, house. Your eyes burn, and you can taste it in the back of your throat, no matter how much water you drink. The animals are lethargic and miserable, and I'm even more stressed out, knowing that there is nothing I can do for them (except provide lots and lots of fresh, clean water). We are re-living the 2002 Biscuit Fire here. The only silver lining to any of this may be another stellar batch of red wines coming out of the Applegate Valley this year.
We have also decided to close the inn to any new reservations until there is significant improvement in the air quality. You can't go outdoors without a respirator, and even then, I get dizzy and sick and come down with pounding headaches due to the fact that I do have to be outside for long periods of time each day. This means that trying to summon up the willpower to clean the house and prepare everything for B&B guests is nearly impossible. All across the valley, events are being cancelled due to terribly unhealthy air quality, and it's even grown bad enough to close off the wild & scenic portion of the Rogue River. The tourism industry is definitely taking a huge and painful hit this year, but it's not as though there is anything you can do.
So, I've been staying inside, working on hats, trying to maintain a positive outlook on life. Sometimes, that is the best any of us can do.