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Smoke from Oregon fire prompts concerns about wildfire season

Making its way over San Francisco, the smoke reaches Market Street. (Photo courtesy of Nick Otto)

On Sept. 19, drift smoke from fires in Northern California and Oregon filled the air. At first, it wasn’t noticeable. However, as the day dragged on, the smell of ashy campfire began to linger. Soon enough, it began to fill the classrooms and library. 

As reported by IQAir, the air quality was 175 today at its peak in Larkspur-Corte Madera. Any range between 101-150 on the index scale that IQAir uses is considered “unhealthy.” The average air quality on a normal day in Marin County is between 30-50 which is considered “healthy.” 

Knowledge about wildfires can’t be overstated, especially during wildfire season. According to Mark Summary, one of the chemistry teachers at Redwood, the familiar smell of smoke brings back memories.

“The smoke [from the fires] seemed eerily reminiscent of what happened in 2017. As a science teacher here, I am obliged to educate both students and myself about the dangers and effects from fires,” Summary said.

With the tradewinds moving down the coast, experts are predicting that the wildfire season all across Oregon and California’s coast could be significant, per the National Interagency Wildfire Center. The current smoke seen throughout the Bay Area came from a series of fires on the California-Oregon border, most of which hasn’t been contained yet. 

The smoke from the wildfire has also had impacts on student athletes. Every outdoor practice for fall sports in the Tamalpais Union High School District on Sept. 19 was canceled due to health concerns. 

Billowing over Mount Tamalpais, the after-effects of the Oregon wildfires can be seen throughout Marin.

According to the girl’s varsity field hockey coach, Jen Reidy, who saw her team get their practice postponed, she views the whole ordeal as sad yet necessary. 

“Postponing practice was the right move. If the air quality index is 150 or above, we are advised to cancel practice. The situation wasn’t ideal all around, but we were still able to go into the PE classroom and use it to watch film for our upcoming game,” Reidy said.

With the recent wildfires happening on Maui, people all around California’s coast are urged to take caution with what they are doing during the wildfire season. Considering that the wind has picked up in recent days all around Marin, there could be potential for a wildfire in the Bay Area with much worse ramifications. 

“The prospect of wildfires getting even bigger and harder to put out is what scares me the most,” Summary said.

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About the Contributor
Elakai Anela, Reporter
Elakai Anela is a senior at Redwood High School and a reporter for The Redwood Bark. He enjoys playing basketball, eating food, and watching sports.