To watch one’s own forests burn is a heartbreaking thing. It’s never been just about whether the wildfires hit our smaller communities, but instead, to those of us who call the spine of the Sierra home, each ecosystem and human enclave that succumbs to the seasonally-increasing flames is a tragedy. This month, we asked Tahoe/Truckee-ites if wildfire activity has forced them to consider leaving the region, their state, or the West altogether. We received 60 responses to this question, and are only able to highlight a few; 20% or 12 respondents hadn’t considered moving while the majority (80% or 48 respondents) had considered it. Some are already gone.
LAUREN TAPIA, Truckee
Human resources manager, district clerk, TTAD
I personally muscle through the Truckee winters for the beautiful summers. Our summer this year was paralyzed due to the impacts of forest fire smoke. If this becomes a yearly trend, we have discussed, for the first time ever, if living up here is worth it. [With] weeks of 300+ AQI … we spent almost every August weekend out of town searching for clean air to breathe! That’s just ridiculous.
KYLE LOWIS, Tahoe City
Online customer experience representative
No, but there needs to be better forestry, fire education, and fire ban enforcement.
CASTIEL FROST, Nevada City
Yes. The smoke and the growing number of 100+ summer days get me sick and nervous.
ASHLEY (COOPER) BECK, Golden, CO
Former communications manager, TTCF
Yes. After temporarily moving out of Truckee (a place that is home), it’s scary to imagine the risks involved with coming back.
KAREN NORRIS, Truckee
Certified public accountant/broker
This was the first time I questioned my ability to live here full time due to the wildfires. The stress of evacuation (including two horses), devastation of communities and acreage, [and] the unhealthiness of the air quality has left me wondering. Maybe a second home for retreat … but where?