Fall Fire Season: Is it time to relocate?
Hi friends -- for the last 4 years, I've referred to the fall fire season as: 'the fifth CA season: Mama questions her life choices,' but this year, with the insanely early and intense fire season on top of COVID and all else, I'm really struggling and wondering if it is time to explore leaving the area. I am not a CA native, but have lived in various parts of the East Bay for more than a decade; my husband has never lived anywhere else. His parents are both in the East Bay; mine moved 2 years ago to Reno/Tahoe to be closer to us, and my brother and his family now live in Roseville in a house that they bought with the intention of it being the only house they'll ever own. We have a preschooler and toddler. We bought our house in the Richmond area more than 5 years ago, and are now pretty deeply rooted in our local community, to the point where I've seriously considered running for city council or school board. My husband's an introverted sort who struggles with making new friends in a place he's lived all his life, and also works in software, so is wary of moving away from the tech coast. When the weather is good, the kids and I basically live outside, and our neighborhood is perfect for that kind of lifestyle. We have amazing neighbor friends who I've been scheming to build a real neighborhood community with for the last 2 years. And yet.
I grew up in northern New England and still have connections there, including some beloved relatives who just moved back to Maine. This week, I'm bouncing wildly back and forth between all the reasons to stay (everything outlined in the preceding paragraph), and the specter of the West just getting drier and hotter and more charred every year, with a longer, uglier fire season every fall. The cost of living hasn't prompted these thoughts in me; the traffic is annoying but manageable; the risk of "the big one" doesn't scare me most of the time (we've done all the preparations we can, have EQ insurance, etc.); but the idea of being locked in our homes for months at a time, literally unable to even play in the yard, every year for the rest of my kids' childhoods... that's starting to feel overwhelming. If winter lasts for 4 months as it did when I was a kid, I can put the kids in wool hats and snowsuits and spend the day outside, but there's no "good clothing" for fire season.
I know this list has some subscribers who've gone elsewhere. Anybody have any advice they could offer? <3