Sunday, September 27, 2020

A short history on Y. pestis in California

The introduction of the bubonic plague, or black death, nearly wiped out our native ground squirrel populations in San Francisco, and the greater Bay Area. The bubonic plague was introduced to California (and beyond) from ships arriving in San Francisco by way of Hawaii, and China. Y. pestis proved to be fatal to our native ground squirrel populations, as they had no immunity to it. It took a very long time for the ground squirrel population to bounce back from the disease.

The plague was initially introduced to San Francisco via rats jumping Chinese ships. Probably several times. People knew the plague was spread by rats, but they didn’t know of the symbiotic connection with fleas until much later. There are several vector dates (the first, possibly as early as 1855) 1894-1899; 1900-1904; unfortunately California Governor Gage, like tRump, was in full denial. 

The 1906 fire burned Chinatown, and eradicated the epicenter, but by then, it had spread by not just rats, but via ground squirrels, there was a species transference, and because Gage was in full denial (not to mention being a racist), there was another larger outbreak in 1907. But that wasn’t the last introduction of Y. pestis to California. The last urban plague epidemic was in Los Angeles 1924-1925.

“the California ground squirrel was identified as a vector of the disease. The initial denial of the 1900 infection allowed the pathogen to gain its first toehold in America, from which it spread sporadically to other states in the form of sylvatic plague (rural plague). However, it is possible that the ground squirrel infection predated 1900.”  —Wiki

Any rodent that has rodent fleas can carry the plague—rock (ground) squirrels, wood rats, ground squirrels, prairie dogs, chipmunks, mice, voles, and rabbits. And it seems to have spread to other species families. The marmot or gerbil were probably the original vector species.

I remember when there were bubonic plague warnings at Fallen Leaf Lake during the early 1970s, and the few rare human cases have always been linked to camping and rodents. Just don’t sit near a ground squirrel burrow, or any rodent den, as fleas carry Y. pestis. We were camping at Fallen Leaf Lake, and I was worried, checking for flea bites among the myriad mosquito bites, and later checking my armpits for swelling for weeks as I had caught a vole lumbering down the road and I popped it into a shoebox so I could draw it before releasing it somewhere safer than the middle of the road.

Someone at Lake Tahoe caught the plague this August, but the disease is easily treatable with antibiotics—as long as you know what it is. But it’s pretty rare, the last known case was 5 years ago. Y. pestis outbreaks seem to cycle every few years. There seems to be an El Niño connection, with a 15-year cycle following a warm, moist winter.) California has few human plague victims, but Arizona and the Rockies are hotspots.

Once the plague had leaped from the rats, to native rodent species, it was renamed as sylvatic plague, which has taken a couple of centuries to reach the Rockies via native wildlife corridors. It’s currently affecting black-tailed prairie dog colonies—with a 100% mortality rate, wiping out entire prairie dog towns. An oral vaccine was administered in 2003 (via peanut butter!) to try and stave off  the ravages of Y. pestis as an endangered apex species, the endangered black-footed ferret population which fed exclusively on a keystone species, prairie dogs, was also affected. As in starving to death. In an odd turn of events, scientists had to save the prairie dogs from the plague in order to save the ferrets.

The California ground squirrel was identified as harboring the disease during several historic outbreaks. It was the vector that transmitted the disease to other native rodent species. Y. pestis thrives in the mountains, probably introduced by the miners, but rest assured, the disease is no longer a major concern along the coast. But the ground squirrels were completely wiped out in the greater Bay Area—it took them a long time to recover. 

Silly of CBS to post a photo of a tree squirrel, it doesn’t change the history of Y. pestis in California—there are cyclical plague years and now there are now many more animal species that carry the disease than just ground squirrels. Their unfortunate role in Y. pestis led to wholesale poisoning of ground squirrels in California through the 1970s. And that wholesale poisoning created cascade effect literally poisoning all our apex predators, what Rachel Carson dubbed Silent Spring. 

We nearly lost our peregrine falcons, the main predator of ground squirrels, forever—in California, save for the intervention of biologist Monty Kervin whose efforts brought the peregrine falcons back from the brink of extinction. The poisoning program was so successful that by 1978, there were only 19 known pairs of peregrine falcons in all of California. What tangled webs we weave.

I’m delighted to see them once again thriving in East Bay, and even in Sonoma County. They were not part of my childhood landscape, because they were so rare. I love watching them standing sentinel on fence posts surveying their small kingdoms, their piercing metallic bark sounding like it’s in need of some serious lubrication—like a shot of WD40. But their call is also a harsh reminder of a disease accidentally introduced to our shores that will never be completely eradicated.

Fire journal 13, Pond Farm

Some fire photos of Bauhaus potter, Marguerite Wildenhain’s place, Pond Farm Pottery. I know the firefighters were trying very hard to make sure that the historic farm didn’t burn down. 

Marguerite was friends with Walter Gropius, and the Bauhaus movement. During the late 1970s I met her, my boyfriend and I were potters. She didn’t really want to have much to do with anyone. But she did give us a tour of the place. Quite possibly lunch. It was a long time ago. Maybe time to write a blog piece about it. 

The story goes that Marguerite Wildenhain commissioned a friend to build a hostel of sorts for her students in Armstrong Woods. The lobby, built like a teepee, was turned into a disco in the 70’s and 80’s and burned down in late ‘80’s. That place, I remember dancing there to disco lights, and I do have photos of it. 

The Hexagon House was designed by a friend of Marguerite’s. I originally learned that Walter Gropius, a frequent visitor to Pond Farm—I think they had a thing going on—designed Hexagon House. But I was corrected. Still not sure if he had a hand in it. Gordon Herr is credited with building the Hexagon House. Apparently it was originally designed as a meeting place for an enclave of visiting artists. But Marguerite was the only one who stayed on. I know that Ansel Adams visited, as he took a photo of Austin Creek.

Interesting to think of all those pottery students hiking up the hill from Armstrong Woods to Marguerite’s place for pottery lessons. It’s at least a mile walk, and they must’ve been in a euphoric state by the time they got there. 

A friend of mine who was the photographer for The Paper, Phil Osborne, worked for Marguerite when she did production pottery during the 1960s and 1970s. I wonder if he was originally a student of hers. 

My friend Dulcie and I made an homage visit to the outside of Pond Farm yard in October, 2017, as the farm has been closed for some time. We were visiting Kat Williams, who lived beyond the next firegate on Sweeteater Ridge, to take photos of some paintings and clay sculptures of Boschka Layton’s.

Dulcie and I were both students of Thano Johnson’s pottery school at College of Marin during the 1970s, so we knew of Marguerite’s work. We also shared a boyfriend, Bob the Potter. I guess I nicked him from her, and then seven years later, she nicked him back. It didn’t take. He was damaged goods. This time Dulcie nicked a large serpentine rock from the parking lot as a memento and handed it to me. All that slippery greenness, harbinger of blue clay deposits, the potter’s friend.


A few years back the Press Democrat had an article on Pond Farm,I need to look it up. Someone mentioned that Sunset Magazine also did a spread as well. Things to Google when I have time, so this is a placeholder.

Saturday, September 26, 2020

Green olives

Have you ever been tempted to eat an unripe olive from the tree? I guarantee you will be spitting for hours to get rid of the acrid taste. It was a huge leap of faith for Bronze Age man, somewhere in the Levant, some 7000 years ago, to transform the ripe olive, bitter as gall, to something that was actually edible by curing it with lye and salt brine. I wonder what epiphany happened for someone to figure out that olives were edible, and also a way to cure them. I bet goats were involved. They will eat anything. 

At least beer will make itself on its own, given the right circumstances, ditto that with cheese. But olives? I suspect it was the oil, which literally comes from the word for olive oil, that led to eating the fruit. Fossilized olives from 37,000 years ago were found on Santorini. As early as 3000 BC, commercial olive production probably led to the rise of the Minoan civilization. Spanish missionaries brought the olives to Mission San Diego in 1769.

The word "olive" derives from Latin ŏlīva ("olive fruit", "olive tree"), possibly through Etruscan 𐌀𐌅𐌉𐌄𐌋𐌄 (eleiva) from the archaic Proto-Greek form *ἐλαίϝα (*elaíwa) (Classic Greek ἐλαία elaía, "olive fruit", "olive tree").

The word "oil" originally meant "olive oil", from ŏlĕum,  ἔλαιον (élaion, "olive oil"). Also in multiple other languages the word for "oil" ultimately derives from the name of this tree and its fruit.

The oldest attested forms of the Greek words are the Mycenaean 𐀁𐀨𐀷e-ra-wa, and 𐀁𐀨𐀺e-ra-wo or 𐀁𐁉𐀺e-rai-wo, written in the Linear B syllabic script. —Wiki


Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Gnawing hunger


At the crest of Wilson Hill Rd.,
sunset staining the hills.
I gnaw on day-old artisan bread
with cheese rinds,
keeping in time present.
Not letting self-pity in.

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Fire journal 12, We’re in the Shire now!

We’re in the Shire now! Open up the windows and air out the house now because it looks like we’ll be back in Rohan (yellow) again this afternoon. Buckle up. We’ve had real fog at night and I think the mist takes down the smoke particles. The smoke ceiling was above the fog, and then it dropped, trapped by the cloud ceiling. The air was deadly for days. It was a bit misleading because we were getting more light. Oregon and Washington are somewhere north of Mordor, outside the Middle Kingdom. Everything is covered in ash. The AQI chart doesn’t even go up that high. For the first time in ages, the chickens are carrying on. We can see our shadows. Is it time for our elevenses yet?

These websites are our mantras. Our lifelines.  AorNow and PurpleAir

m slept with the window open all night since we were in the Shire. But at about 5 AM I began to have massive post nasal drip, so I looked at the AQI chart, but it was still in the green. The only thing I can think of, was that the fog was bringing down Mordor smoke from the sky which became dragonkruft in my nose. I was too tired to wake up and close the window. All I can say is listen to your body. Sleeping with the windows closed tonight. There be dragons on the horizon.


Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Fire journal 11, We’re in Rohan

After countless days of dark skies and a smoke ceiling too thick to comprehend, what I imagine hell to be like, we had blue skies and relatively fresh air. I’ve become an expert at reading the AQI air index. Today we are in Rohan. Glimpses of tantalizing blue after a week of living in a sepiatone world.We definitely had a much higher AQI this morning. But we had a real fog, replete with mist on the ground. The air smelled burnt, but not overwhelming. A few lone high numbers on the AQI index has me a bit worried. Most of the Bay Area is in Mirkwood. We’re closer to the coast.


Yesterday: AQI IS DOWN TO 128. Gondor levels, vs Mordor levels. I can see pale blue skies for the first time in over a week. We’ve been stuck in post-Orc army Isengard/Mirkwood for days. Opening the window for delicious fresh-ish air. Maybe tomorrow we will be in Rohan. Check PurpleAir.com, uncheck indoor sensors and use the LRAPA converter. What is your AQI?


Scanfest, continued, or interrupted...

 It seems that I make a yearly pilgrimage to my negative treasure trove for a scanfest. My latest spate of salvaging, or chronicling the past, has been delving into old negatives of poets from the 1980s, and rendering, or perhaps wrestling them into digital format. 

The problem is that so many of my photos rely heavily upon use of dark and light. I was using TriX film, after all. I am a sucker for light hitting someone’s face, especially when it pierces one of their eyes, and the image comes alive. Like the one of John Oliver Simon at his desk, giving time that guarded look. Then the come-hither look. Then naked desire tinged with his dislike of feeling so vulnerable.

Many of my photos rely heavily upon that severe lighting. But minor details like hands and background tend to get chopped off because the Epson Perfection v. 550 scanner can’t see what’s there, so it makes drastic assumptions. When I attempted to scan Kenneth Rexroth photos last year, Michael McClure‘s hands were chopped off because the camera lens couldn’t see that there was something at the end of all that darkness. Ditto that with Carolyn Forché’s hands. I decided to wait it out.

But the used scanner I want, at the price I want, has not materialized in three years. I can no longer wait. Having to huck three heavy boxes of negatives up and down stairs three times now, from evacuations in progress, has prompted me to seriously consider just getting on with it with what I have, and scanning my entire collection, and then parting them out to library collections. At least they will be preserved.

Sure I will need to redo several collections, but for the most part, I‘ve salvaged an extraordinary amount of photos. However, some of the negatives are so dirty, with embedded dust, and hard water marks, cleanup is a nightmare. I’ve tried to gently clean the images with rubbing alcohol, or that deadly movie film cleaner,  but it didn’t work. I would need to soak the negatives and distilled water and see if I could clean them that way. Seems far too risky to do, so I scan the dirty negatives anyway. Better than nothing. 

My Meridel LeSueur images were hardest hit. And they were in film sleeves. A lot of good that did. I noticed that certain (not so inert) film sleeves (with frosted backs) clung to my negative strips, as if moisture that had gotten to them. Sigh.


Thursday, September 10, 2020

Rolling your rrrs

 You’re a girl after me own heart, she said in an Irish accent, rolling those rrrs for all they were worth, as if they were loaded snake eye dice tumped down hard on the bar from the leather cup.

Fire journal 10, Please don’t breathe the air...



Today, the air was positively lethal. I’ve had a headache all day, and earlier this evening, my eyes were burning—indoors with the air scrubber going full blast. And I’ve developed a cough which I’m trying not to encourage. What about you?

I’m compiling pertinent links, creating a resource base, so check the URLs below for more info. And if you have a good link, please share. Crowdsourced PurpleAir.com stats run higher, but are more up-to-the-minute accurate, they measure micro-regions—with hundreds more laser sensors in the field than other AQI sites. PurpleAir says some monitors run 1.5 times higher than EPA sensors, and woodsmoke has a different density than other pollutants. Checking the LRAPA or AQandU conversion in the menu corrects the readings somewhat. Don’t forget to uncheck the indoor sensors. Air quality is still off the charts either way. 

From KQED: Wood-smoke particles have a different density from gravel dust or other pollutants. To convert it into a calibrated reading that more accurately compares to EPA data, PurpleAir users can toggle between two conversions  “LRAPA,” and “AQandU,” which align more closely with EPA readings.

The six pollutants measured are: carbon monoxide, lead, nitrogen oxides, ground-level ozone, particle pollution (particulate matter), and sulfur oxides. Woodsmoke is not the same density as other types of smoke.

“The index is based on the concentrations of five pollutants. The index is calculated from the concentrations of the following pollutants: Ozone, Nitrogen Dioxide, Sulphur Dioxide, PM2. 5 (particles with an aerodynamic diameter less than 2.5 μm) and PM10.”

more on that KQED article.

Wear an N 95 mask outside at all times. Don’t risk it. A friend walking to the post office the other day was felled with a heart attack because of the bad air. it was nowhere near as bad as it is right now. It’s quite serious even if you can’t smell it. Make an air scrubber with a simple box fan and a MERV1900 filter slapped on the back—if you can find one. A MERV1500 filter will do, as most of the 1900 HEPA filters are sold out. I made one for my cousin, I use a Winix air purifier, and I just changed all the filters.


The sky is lighter now, the chickens woke up around 10 am and the rooster announced the last vestiges of dawn. Then they all went back to sleep again.

Fire journal 9, August Complex largest fire in CA history


Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Paywall woes


Lately, I’ve fallen into the rabbit hole of both Marin County Free Library, and the Sonoma County Library subscriptions to Newspapers.com, etc. Pulling up old articles and past events has been fascinating, I had no idea that I was actually in the news as often as I was writing news articles. Or that I made Gaye LeBaron’s fabled gossip column. Or that I got an end-of-year shoutout for writing from the Press Democrat. It was a trip to rediscover all those small town newspapers I once took for granted, or thought were too hokey. I was able to lift crude screen copies of articles where I was featured. (And I repasted them here in this blog).

Then, since I share the same name as my mother, I began to notice that her name appeared in searches as well. I didn’t even know Sausalito had a newspaper, or that my late mother directed a children’s play, Rapunzel, for the Gate Playhouse Theatre. She starred as a startlingly scary witch in Hansel and Gretel, an image that forever scarred the psyches of Sausalito children who attended the weekly matinees during 1959-61.

But as I searched, I noticed that there doesn’t seem to be a way of accessing several newspapers for free, specifically the Marin IJ, or rather Marin Daily Journal (when did the name change? 1972.) I was looking for articles on the Gate Playhouse productions, Speck McAuliffe’s Lagunitas Lodge—and other West Marin/SGV stories—including a play I was in at Lagunitas School, as my sole clipping of the play was destroyed when my aunt moved my treasure box to an open window in the basement one wet winter, effectively destroying all my childhood memorabilia. (MDJ, Dec. 9, 1961, page 23, or Dec 11, 1961, page 51.)

Not so long ago, I used to be able to freely search the Marin IJ archives via the internet, and now everything is locked up tighter than a tick. When did all that paywall happen? Another newspaper, the Sacramento Bee, is also locked up as tight. An article about my mom, when she was with the Music Circus, Guys and Dolls, and The Student Prince, with her friend Lloyd Bridges. Yes, Mr. Sea Hunt. (SB, July 26, pp. 9, and 56.) I’m sure there is more on her, but it’s so hard to find anything when the search process is crippled by myriad paywalls these days.

Very sad, and frustrating, it seems Newspaper.com has gobbled up all the archived newspaper sites. It’s as bad as the ancestry sites monetizing everything—then attempting to sell back to me images I scanned and uploaded elsewhere, is infuriating. Or Getty Images snatching up all those formerly free photo archives, even going after, and attempting to charge photographers to use their own images. It’s maddening to see your name in print, from the pre-internet days, and then not be able to access it. A to-do list. Meanwhile, the awesome resource librarian at the Marin County Free Library gave me a free link to California digital newspapers: https://cdnc.ucr.edu/

Fire journal 8, The color of the sky


 

This is what I awoke to today. The sky at 9AM. I slept in quite late because there was no sunrise, no morning, only an orange darkness, the likes of which, I have never seen before. The chickens never even got up. Nor did the birds rise to the occasion. We are living in Mordor. Two days ago, it was 108° in the afternoon. Today is in the chilly 60s. I kept thinking it was 5 am, and my air scrubber wouldn’t wake up from sleep mode, I had to force it on. Usually the Winix goes on at about 6 am. So glad I’ve a new HEPA filter in it. It makes such a difference. 



9 am 

An apocalyptic sky in the morning
sailors, and all living things  take warning
We’re living in a sepiatone world
where everything is bereft of color
and ash, the secret hearts of trees, 
drifts down like silent snow
Even the birds, they refuse to sing, 
they are in deep mourning.

11 AM The rooster attempted a redo of dawn again. The last time he tried was around 10 AM. He got the chickens up and going. But now they’re back in bed. Though it’s darker than before, he keeps trying to rouse them, no luck. The wild birds have completely given up their morning song and called it quits.

Blood-red dragon’s eye moon, and it’s not even an eclipse. I wasn’t expecting that. I kept thinking it was some electronics reflecting in the window. Then the horror of realization. Living in a sepiatone world.


Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Fire journal 7, Please stay home....we know it’s hot. But stay away.

Something I wrote to a friend of a friend who wrote a post based on this post.

We have narrow winding roads to the coastal towns of the North Bay, two massive, active fires, one has already leapt its containment banks, and many of the towns were either under mandatory evacuation orders, or evacuation warning—people racing home to pack up their things, rescue their livestock and pets in order to evacuate, including Bolinas—only to be hampered by tourists who refused to pull over. Sheriff’s Dept and NPS asked people to stay away, as all parks were closed, all parking lots were closed, no services, and still they came.

We also had 500-700 firefighters and equipment trying to use those same narrow winding roads—and again, people from out of town refusing to yield right of way.... By Labor Day Weekend it was gridlock from Muir Woods to north of Jenner, along Hwy 1, and all along River Road, when the fire leapt its banks, and new evacuation orders were in place. So, yes, we’re all more than a little angry at the sheer thoughtlessness that their actions have brought upon these tiny communities.

On the sweet side, locals gathered at the crossroads and wide spots in the road holding Thank You, We Love You, and Heroes signs to greet the firemen at the changing of the guard each evening. Our decommissioned San Geronimo Valley golf course was a pop up tent city for all the firefighters joining us from the Northern Rockies.

We have never experienced heavy traffic such as this, and most of it was before the real smoke descended. It seems as if the entire bay area decided to come to the coast, and to the Russian River. Nobody wearing masks, parking randomly wherever they wanted, because everything is closed, using the side of the road as a bathroom, It goes on. 

No this is not normal. And I think the real key is that people were not fleeing to the coast to escape smoke, but to escape the confines of COVID, and later, the heat, not knowing at the time that the smoke was quite thick along the coast because of the fires. So ironically the air was more toxic, and still they came. It was like lemmings.

Even the local politicians and sheriffs department in Sonoma County were aghast. No one wants to put roadblocks up, but we’ve all been asked not to come to the coast—so here we are in Marin and Sonoma counties following the rules, only to be overrun by people from out of county. 

You might relate to this, but the little town of Point Reyes Station ran out of gas. People from out of town wanted gas, there was none. Then someone drove his car into the side of the Palace Market, knocking everything off the shelves and refrigerator cabinets. Crazy thoughlessness. And because of the fire, we didn’t have the infrastructure to deal with people getting hurt, or in a car accident.

Monday, September 7, 2020

Fire journal 6, Ash drift, emberfire

My window has been closed since morning, lots of ash drift. Sky is the color of smoked salmon. The thought of repacking to evacuate—ugh. Luckily, third time’s a charm. I’m much faster at it than before. There’s a curious dithering transition that happens as you begin to gather stuff. All thumbs and nae plan whatsoever. 

Both times I’ve sat in a stupor, in shock, unable to motivate myself, before I was able to shift gears. Yes, leaving things packed and ready to go is probably still the best plan. I went around for two weeks with all my stuff in my car, sans negatives—I was afraid they’d cook. But then it became too stressful as people who had obviously evacuated were being targeted and robbed. Another source of stress.

I figured since I lugged three huge boxes of negatives around with me for a couple of weeks, that I would start scanning them, luckily it won’t take too much to repack them. I did put all my art stuff away. All my jewelry and tchotchkes too. Do I need to repack? 

The fire cam from Mt. Jackson shows that the flames are big. Wind tonight. Sleeping with the windows closed, hope the winds don’t come. I slept with the window open last night, sniffing for smoke all night long as I knew that was my only warning if the power went out.

And here we go again. Multiple fires north of Willits to Covelo Multiple Evacuation Alerts for Mendocino County. Check Nixel. Wildfires are spreading at blazing speed. Pardon the pun. Stay alert, neighbors. Go-bags at the ready. #OakFire has jumped Hwy 101.


Sunday, September 6, 2020

Fire journal 6, CalFire village, photos



I travel back and forth to West Marin, from West Sonoma County for work, so I’m constantly monitoring both fires. The defunct San Geronimo Valley golf course was turned into a CalFire village, we’ve had almost 500 firefighters from the Northern Rockies campingout.

Every evening everyone gathers at the road junctions in Olema, and Forest Knolls at the changing of the firefighter shift, to thank the firefighters in person with homemade thank you signs as they drive back to the golf course. It’s quite emotional. We’re not allowed to have contact because of COVID, so people are selling shirts to raise money for CalFire, etc. Every post and electrical pole has a thank you sign on it.

Anyway, because of the CalFire village, we’ve had a fab cellular service. All the cellular companies have satellites up at the golf course. 

Last night, Sinead and I slept o utside in Forest Knolls. The air was acrid with smoke, the evening stayed hot until the wee hours when the birds began their morning songs.  I thought the blue jay was bad enough but the woodpecker’s song leaves something to be desired. The morning was hot as an anvil. Any outside work we had planned was shelved.We went over to Sam’s for showers and bathroom breaks. I spent Sunday in the relative course of his basement apartment with the homemade air scrubbers working overtime.


Fire journal 5, Stay Away!

 9/7 West Marin and West Sonoma County are still off-limits to visitors for good reason. We are so beyond impacted it’s not funny. County officials, sheriff’s department, CHP, and park rangers have begged people to stay away. We are wrapping up huge fires which have also devastated our communities and left us traumatized. 

Containment does not mean the wildfires are out. The Woodward and Walbridge fires are  still burning. Conditions could change without notice. We’re under red flag warning. Today is a critical fire warning day. There’s been a big flare-up at the Cedars. 

UPDATE: new evacuation orders. Check Nixle. The Walbridge fire may burn until the rainy season. Anything can spark a new fire. Your motorcycle muffler. The air quality is horrific. It’s hard to breathe. Ironically, yesterday Bolinas AQI was triple digit, which is extremely dangerous. 

And the idiot spandex clad bicyclists! do they think they’re immune to dangerous particulate smoke lung damage? From southern Marin to northern Sonoma County, the roads were one massive traffic jam this weekend. The beaches are closed. Stinson Beach is closed. The entire Point Reyes National Seashore is closed. The Russian River and Hwy 1 should be closed. Instead, beaches are packed with COVID-seeking sardines. County Officials have repeatedly asked that you stay away. 

All this flagrant disregard by tourists, while 500 firefighters in West Marin alone, are trying to contain the fire and move their equipment out to the next fire. Ditto that in Sonoma County. TOURISTS TURNED THE ENTIRE RUSSIAN RIVER INTO UNPRECEDENTED GRIDLOCK. We do not want a repeat of Paradise. 

Irony is, that all of us locals are staying home so that the roads will remain free, we are following the rules, and then we are bombarded by thousands of visitors, especially callous tourists, with complete disregard as to what’s going on. It’s a nightmare. What don’t you understand about Stay TF home. Go to a cooling center, if you must. 

And to the kyackers in Nicasio Reservoir, what were you thinking—that’s our DRINKING water, FU. West Marin is not your personal playground. You are a guest here, act like one. Better yet, stay home. This is a photo of the coast, either Bodega Bay or Bolinas—despite the misdirected signs. Thanks for the photo Jack Crimmins.