Coping with Fire Season

Parent Q&A

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  • Sleepaway camp and fire season

    (2 replies)

    We’ve been thinking about finding a sleepaway camp for some period of July or August for our camp-curious nine-year-old. The regrettable New Normal of California “Fire Season” had totally skipped my consciousness until I came upon one camp website that addressed their management of weeks and weeks of smoke in a recent camp season. Now I’m questioning if even thinking about a west-coast sleepaway summer camp is sensible. Posting to find out what other parents are thinking, and doing, about this—? Thanks in advance for any reflections. 

    Of course it's sensible to think about! Just don't plan for the parents to go out of town during the same week (so you can pick up your child if the camp is closed due to smoke).

    It is a concern. My kids have attended two different California camps, maybe 10 sessions between them, and they never actually had a session canceled. BUT they have been impacted by it a few times, and camps they have attended have canceled other sessions due to bad air quality and/ or actual fire danger. Most camps have good safety & evacuation plans, but you should plan to be able to pick your child up early for a smoke closure. If you can, consider a session in the last weeks of June when fires often aren’t as rampant yet. Also, you could think about near the coast like Farm Camp near Cazadero, where the risk of smoke closures, while still possible, may be lower than in the Sierra Nevada, Trinity Alps, etc. Another option, if you have the flexibility and resources, is to look at camps in the Midwest or Northeast. There is a huge summer camp culture in those areas, especially in New England & Maine, and your child could have different kind of experience — green surroundings, summer rainstorms, swimming in lakes that aren’t freezing, etc. Maybe even actual fireworks on the Fourth of July… You could take a parent vacation somewhere in the region during the session. 

  • HI everyone! We live in a very old house and have original windows (1914) in much of the house. The windows are extremely drafty and we have not been able to fix it with weather stripping. Many of our windows are large double hung windows that will need custom replacement. With smoke season now being a yearly issue, we see replacing the windows as a likely necessity for staying safe in the Bay Area. Has anyone done this? Do you have a recommended company that does a good job with these custom windows in old houses? Anything you feel we should be considering?

    Thank you!

    Alas. We too have 100 year old original tudor style beautiful casement windows. Everyone comments how beautiful they are. We joke that they are purely decorative and live in fear that they will disintegrate every time a storm hits.They  don’t work but sure are pretty to look at from 6 ft away.

    Custom wood windows are very expensive. We budgeted to replace 3 windows a year because each window costs $2700. Your may cost a little less if they aren’t as ornate as ours. We used to work with the Frame Work but the owner retired. We plan to work with Hansen Wood Window for future replacements. We got a quote from them when we first began this project and they were our second choice. When the fire season comes, we put a big plastic sheet and tape them over all the old windows and doors and put an air purifier in each room. The plastic sheet balloons every time wind blows. Curse these very beautiful useless windows!

    I am almost reluctant to share bc I don't want him to get too busy, but, my window guy is really, really good. He has built custom windows for me in my home at fantastic prices and replaced broken windows. He has also done many jobs for clients of mine with rave reviews. He can do the standard, low end, vinyl clad, dual pane or he can build custom wood - he is honest, kind, responsible, and really smart. Angel Gomez, 925-250-5203 - I would text him initially, use my name, Sarah Ridge, realtor - say I referred you and please be kind, he is a hardworking guy!

    We used Renewal by Anderson. Yes, they are more expensive than your plain vanilla vinyl frames. But on the inside they look like wood frames yet are still a lot cheaper than real solid wood frames. All their windows are custom-built.

    I've been considering something called an interior storm window for our house. If it works for you, it would allow the original windows to remain but provide a sealed window to keep the draft out.

    Indow Windows is a company that custom fabricates interior storm windows but is very expensive. Their interior window also has a very wide boarder which makes the visible portion of the window smaller, which I don't like. I've been trying to find a less expensive option.

  • Preschool closures due to poor air quality?

    (8 replies)

    Our preschool opened up (with stable cohorts, daily temperature checks, etc) last month, but it is now closed again due to the poor air quality. I'm curious to know whether other programs that were recently open for in-person instruction are also closing during this time. If your preschool is closed due to poor air quality, I'd love to learn more about the criteria your preschool is using in deciding when to close the school. Thanks!

    Our preschool has air purifiers in each classroom and is not closing due to poor air quality.  However, the preschool is not having the kids go outside on bad air quality days.

    Our daycare has remained open during the bad air quality days and is just keeping the kids indoors.  We have chosen to keep our son home on bad air quality days since we are working from home anyway and it is safer for him to be home with our air purifiers working on max, but I retained the option to drop him off when I feel comfortable doing so.  We check air quality in mornings and if it is red or worse keep him home.  On yellow or green days he goes to daycare.  On orange days we do the smell test and it depends on how busy of a work day it is for us. 

    Our son's preschool closed last Friday and this Monday, due to poor air quality. The criteria to close campus depends on if the air quality forecast is at or above unhealthy (red) level at the start of the school day and unlikely to improve during the day. Families are notified by 7:30 AM if school is closed. My little guy had three half days and two full days before school closed. We are grateful the air quality has improved, as school reopened yesterday!

    Our preschool had a few days where they did early dismissal when it was smokey and hot, so that they didn't have to keep the kids in a closed room all afternoon. They haven't been closed all day for any of the days but now we're sorta in a generally understood, could be a 1/2 day on any given day depending on any number of factors holding spot. Our school uses arinow.gov and will keep the kids inside/windows closed if it is near/over 100. 

    Yes, our preschool closed last week on Thursday 9/10 at noon, when the AQI climbed close to 200. They remained closed Friday 9/11 and Monday 9/14, and reopened yesterday. Their criteria for closing is an AQI of 200 (or close to it). The classrooms have air filters in them, so when inside they're probably breathing better air than we are at home, but it sounds like the guidelines are set by the Alameda County DPH. It's been so hard! One more hard thing. 

    Our preschool in El Cerrito has not closed down for poor air quality, just removed the outdoor play time. I'm embarrassed to admit I don't know exactly what criteria they are using to make that decision.

    When my daughter was in preschool, and the Air Quality Index was as it was last week, over 200 (very unhealthy), I would have been relieved that the school closed. Schools will definitely close at over 200. Erring on the side of caution, many will close at above 100 (unhealthy for sensitive groups) or 150 (unhealthy). Schools are also obligated to protect their teachers and employees, so more than just kids are being considered in the decision to close. Here is an interesting article on this topic: https://www.kqed.org/news/11706988/to-close-or-not-to-close-for-bad-air-....

    Hi! Yes, our daycare/preschool closed when the AQI was over 200 for a sustained period of time. This resulted in a school closure last Friday, but none of the other days. On the days it was in the range of 101-150, the children remained indoors with air purifiers, with periodic window opening to let air circulate to help mitigate COVID-19 exposure. I'm posting the more detailed plan below in case it's helpful!

    ---

    Resources

    During times of compromised air quality, we monitor changes hourly to ensure we are making the right decisions for our students, Prek through 8th grade. 

    We rely on several reputable resources to check the current status and forecast: 

    • Air Now from the EPA to monitor AQI (Air Quality Index). The EPA calculates the AQI for five major air pollutants regulated by the Clean Air Act: ground-level ozone, particulate matter (10 and 2.5), carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen dioxide. Of these, we are particularly watching PM2.5. For more information regarding air pollutants please go here https://www.epa.gov/criteria-air-pollutants

    • The San Francisco specific data on Real-time Air Quality Index (AQI) and Purple Air which gives us a neighborhood by neighborhood representation and can offer a local perspective for our community.

    • Air Matters app on a smartphone

    • AlertSF from the City of SF air quality today. Administrative staff must sign up for their notification system https://sfdem.org/get-city-alerts.

    School Policy Guidelines

    Below is an outline of the actions --- will take based on Air Quality Index guidelines developed by the EPA found on Airnow.  The team will continue to assess and use our best judgment when In addition, the school uses air filters in each classroom setting and keep all windows and doors closed throughout the school day, whenever possible. 

      

    Good

    Moderate

    Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups

    Very Unhealthy

    Air Pollution Warning

     

    AQI

    0-50

    51-100

    101-150

    151-200

    200+

     

    PM 2.5 (µg/m3)

    ~24

    25~50

    51~100

    101~180

    181~

     

    O3 (ppm)

    0~-0.09

    0.090~0.119

    0.120~0.150

    0.151~0.499

    0.50~

    K - 8 

    Recess 

    No limitations

    No limitations

    Move Indoors

    Move Indoors

     

    All outdoor activities shall be heavily restricted.

     

    School closure considered.

    Extended Care 

    (Early Care as applicable)

    No limitations

    Limit activities for sensitive groups

    Move indoors, cancel outdoor activities

    Move indoors, cancel outdoor activities

    Outdoor PE

    No limitations

    No limitations

    Move Indoors

    Indoor / Low Impact Only

    PreK

    Early Childhood Program

    No limitations

    Limit intense activities

    Indoors Only

    Indoors Only - School closure considered depending on the  timing 

    Notifications

    Our number one goal is the safety and health of our students, faculty, and staff. We will communicate with you as fast and efficiently as possible so you can plan and prepare accordingly.

    We will consider closing for classes if the AQI reaches above 200 for a sustained period, as well as if the prediction remains above 200. We will aim to communicate by 8p the night prior, the school will send a message (text/email) informing everyone if we will close the following day.  

     

  • I’m looking for feedback on whether your kids are struggling with sleep right now. Has it become erratic? What’s helping you?

    We moved at the start of the pandemic and my child is in her own room, for the first time. It’s close to ours, but she’s really stumbled with both going to sleep and sleeping through the night. Bad dreams, or not enough excercise, especially this week stuck inside. Many times, when she wakes, she’s up from 3am.. til 6am. This has been hard. 
     

    We’ve used melatonin to get her to sleep so she’s not taking 2-3 hours to fall asleep. We’ve done sleep training throughout her life. But she’s particularly scared of fires (first really bad dream here was about fires in her school, many months ago :(. We don’t want to over use melatonin, nor do we want to be so severe in sleep training during this time, but open to what makes sense.  We’ve let her have books in bed to cycle down, or slept by her bed or have her come in with us, with a really bad dream or night. We want to stop a lot of that within reason but with these times, it’s felt like the best thing in the moment. 
     

    We’re struggling with whether to be just plain rigorously consistent in never staying there or letting her in bed, no books, and only check in’s (like extinction method), or perhaps continuing to really meet the trauma needs and knowing this is a long game, and offshoot because of this hard season. Thankfully, she’s a pretty well adjusted in this time, although beyond bored this week (no matter the exercise, obstacle course, etc). 
     

    Really want her to get good rest, and us too. It’s been hard. 
     

    Thanks for what’s worked for you. 

    Hi there,

    I’m so sorry to hear about these sleep struggles! I’d highly recommend consulting with a professional sleep coach - we’ve used Darrah Torres of Sleep Wise Consulting in the past and she’s been incredible. Any bumps in the road, I always go back to her. https://sleepwiseconsulting.com/

    Good luck!

    Beth  

    Ugh, I’m sorry! This is such a tough one. My daughter went through the same around 3 when we moved her into a bed. Up for hours in the MOTN, often with tantrums. Every night for months, without fail. Our younger son was 6 months at the time so we were desperate for sleep and tried everything, sleep training wise. What eventually worked was a combination of several things, and I think also just passing through the phase (although I will say, she’s almost 5 now and still up 2-3 times a week but they’re usually brief wake ups unless we’re traveling or she’s sick- but in general much easier to deal with). Like you described, we struggled with whether we should just give in and lay with her every night or do some sort of sleep training. We did both for awhile which didn’t work. Finally we asked her what she needed to feel ok in the night and over a couple weeks she came up with: a special buddy (stuffed animal), soft blanket, sleeping with one of my t-shirts, a nightlight, and a light on in the hallway. I also told her she could call out one time for reassurance but no more after that. We also did a reward chart- the first couple nights when she finally slept through I gave her a little treat in the morning for immediate gratification and a sticker towards a larger goal (picking out a toy). I know, this sounds like a million things and maybe overindulgent, and it probably was, but we were all desperate for sleep and basically not functioning- I was sick for 3 months straight during the worst of it due to exhaustion! Anyway, involving her in the process seemed to help and at least gave us a little more insight into her mind during this whole ordeal. Good luck, and I really hope you get some rest soon! Oh, we also got her an ok to wake clock and explained how important sleep is for our bodies/minds- I got a few picture books on the topic too- the llama llama goodnight one was good at that age.  

  • I just returned from Portland Oregon where I’ve been sheltering from the smoke. And now it’s just as smoky in Portland. And I’m wondering:

     for parents of toddlers in small residences (I live in a second floor apartment)

     what are you doing to keep them occupied and out of trouble? Given that the outdoor air is unsafe and public indoor spaces are closed due to COVID?

     Thanks, Emily

    When our kid was little, we got a jogging trampoline. It was a great way for her to burn off some energy, and grown-ups can use them too.  The quality of bounce is better in larger models.

    1. Dance parties!: Baby shark, Wheels on the Bus, Outkast, Prince etc. It's been good for my mental health as well to join in. Follow-the-leader dance parties are especially fun

    2. Water table: we set up the baby bath tub in the real tub, with multiple bottles cups etc. that allows our toddler to have a makeshift water table and play with as much water as she likes.

    3. Art: crayons, paint markers, stickers

    4. Baking, cooking: Use a rotary egg beater. "Overknead" the pizza dough. My toddler also loves the salad spinner. 

    5. Housework: put away (non-breakable) dishes in lower drawers, dry tupperware with towels, sweep up, put dirty laundry in the machine, transfer wet laundry to the dryer, pull clean clothes out.

    6. Hide and seek (seriously, at that age, you can just lie in bed with a blanket over your head and they can take 10 minutes to figure it out) 

    7. FaceTime with relatives in other places.

    8. Books, books and more books. The libraries are open again, so we have been stocking up regularly.

    9. Bounce balloons back and forth.

    Hi Emily!

    its Ava, who you met today with 3yr old Elliot. One thing that helped us was/is an online prerecorded gymnastics class that we did with Elliot every day...Getting some active but safe movement inside was super helpful — but I had to do it with him, so it wasn’t going to help me get any work done. 
    it was so nice to meet you :)

    My son is 16 months, so not a full-blown toddler yet, but we have been going to Target, sometimes even twice/day to let him run around in the toy and ball aisles. I see other families doing this too. We just go to a different aisle if there's a family already in a specific aisle. It's not perfect, but it lets him explore and get some energy out. Petco is another place we've taken him to look at the animals.

    I'm so relieved we can go outside again right now, but I know the smoke will come back. It's so incredibly hard dealing with this on top of the pandemic. I'm not sure if you are podded with anyone, but that helps too so you can go to their house for a change of scenery.

    Thanks, these are great ideas! And whether it’s smoke or cold rain that makes outdoors less appealing, it’s nice to have some options up my sleeve. The Pikler triangle was another suggestion I heard that looks worth pursuing.

     Great to meet you Ava and Elliot!

  • Fall Fire Season: Is it time to relocate?

    (14 replies)

    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

    GO go go go! You have connections and community make the change! The time is NOW to move. Change is constant and the only thing that will keep us growing. We are headed away from the West and I know we will all survive and thrive. If you are looking for a sign or confirmation let it be this, GO! 

    My husband and I have been having the same conversations – I assume there are many people and families having this conversation. Especially if you have the flexibility like both my husband and I have to work 100% at home and from anywhere. Outside of that, a lot of your situation is the same as ours. We love our neighborhood and my husband was born and raised in Oakland with most of my husbands family live within 20 minutes of us here in Oakland. My family all live on the east coast in North Carolina and one day I hope to move back to be closer to my family. We have started looking to purchase a home in NC to invest in and rent out via Airbnb or long term rental so we can have this property in our back pocket if needed and at the ready if we want to move. We know if we do move back there, the city that we would want to live in has a housing market that has been on the rise for years and we worry that it will be insanely competitive by the time we want to move.

    I know not everyone can take this same path that we are considering (and I know we are fortunate to even have this as an option). I just thought that it would be helpful to tell you our thoughts – you are not alone.

    Hi Mama!

    Just wanted to say I am also a Maine native living in the East Bay! No advice really, but wanted to let you know we are in the same boat. Similarly, prior to COVID my parents were attempting to move to the area to be closer to our family and kids, however everything has fallen to pieces with COVID and now the fires. Over the past month we began to consider moving back to the East coast, but more recently we are seriously entertaining the idea. Weather is one of the biggest reasons why we love/moved to the Bay area, but what is there to enjoy when you are stuck indoors with the windows shut and any museums/kid friendly spots are all closed?

    Sincerely, Also had enough.

    The fire season in the West can be scary.  If your post mentioned health issues that become really bad because of the air quality (like asthma), I would agree that it would really be time to consider a move.  Please remember that everywhere in the US has some type of hazardous weather.  Yes, I mean life-threatening weather.  It’s easy to forget about weather issues living in the Bay Area, because honestly, most of the time the weather is so easy.  

    Here’s a different perspective from someone that grew up in Northern India.  This smoky weather “feels just like winters growing up in India”.  Yes, the air quality here during the fires is about the same as every year in a country that still uses fires as household heating and industry fuel.  Is it bad?  Yes.  Are other weather issues bad?  Yes.  Do you have to stay locked up indoors for the fires?  Hmmm.  Not unless you have health issues related to smoke.  To me, it’s not really different than staying indoors in the summer to avoid heatstroke in the south, or to stay indoors in the NorthEast when it gets so cold that it hurts to breathe.  To me, the biggest difference in geography is attitude.  Californians complain bitterly while a New Englander would take pride in being resilient in the face of adversity.  I can just imagine hearing a New England response to the smoke—just put in an N95 mask and ski goggles, and you are fine to play outside for the day.  Hope you get a chuckle in recognition of the thought of saying that in a Boston accent.  :)

    Only you know what is easiest to tolerate for your family.  Best of luck in your decision.

    No advice but I FEEL YOU. We love love love our kid’s preschool, our friends, and probably the best neighbors we’ll ever have. And lots of other things about the bay and west coast. But family is on the east coast and the thought of another fire season is starting to tip the scales.  

    I don’t really have any advice but we are in the same boat. I am a Bay Area native, and in fact live in my childhood home. Most of the year I can’t imagine living anywhere else. Like you, we spend most of our time outside enjoying everything the Bay Area has to offer. Then: fire season. Suddenly I remember that there are five of us in an 800 square foot house. Not being able to at least take my kids to an indoor playground because of Covid exacerbates things so much. My husband is from DC and we are considering a move back to the area. I would be really sad to leave.  We know we need a bigger house so the question is whether we will invest more in the area or put down roots in DC. Thinking about it makes me so sad. 

    Thanks so much for posting this.  My family (my wife and our 15-month-old) are going through the same thing and we've been wondering what others are thinking about it.  We've been in the bay area for 13 years and we bought a house in Albany with the intent to raise our family here.  We absolutely love where we live (all of: the east bay, the greater bay area, and California).  But we're worried about the long-term health effects of raising young children in an area blanketed in smoke every year for weeks at a time.  (We've read that it's potentially very bad for developing lungs, but that people don't really know.  Seems like a big risk to take?)  As you mentioned, it's also a big bummer to be stuck inside for that time -- especially given that September and October used to be the very nicest times to be outside in the bay area!

    Similar to you, we have family in New England (Massachusetts and Rhode Island), and we've started thinking about relocating there.  We never would have considered that a few weeks ago.  Though I grew up there, I find it very daunting to try to find a similar community (in terms of schools, diversity, walkability, etc.) -- and no idea how to do this from afar with a 15-month-old.  The places that I have found seem even more expensive than the east bay.  And might they be as susceptible to devastating hurricanes in New England as we are to smoke clouds here?

    I don't have a lot to add except that we're going through the same thing: really not wanting to move, feeling like it might be untenable to stay, and wildly swinging back and forth on it.  I'm interested to hear how others are thinking about this!

    One thing we try to keep in mind: if it weren't also for COVID, we could still visit places like museums, aquariums, restaurants, indoor sports, etc. when the smoke is bad.  It's the combination that's so rough right now.

    We pulled the plug this summer and moved back East. COVID was the final straw (and an opportunity given the remote work) but getting out before "fire season" was certainly a thought we had. But we weren't rooted so deeply in the Bay Area -  we had close friendships and work but our families are entirely on the east coast (New England and mid-Atlantic) and we didn't live in the Bay for all that long. So far no looking back for us. We were able to buy a house exactly where we wanted, something we could never have done in the Bay Area, and our mortgage is a lot less than our rent was so we actually feel some more financial freedom too. I love being able to drive to see our family. I think this is a deeply personal decision and there are so many factors here, I would listen to your gut and take a deep (indoor) breath before you go one way or the other.

    We moved to Maine a year ago. I cannot count the number of times, just since this school year began, that I have said out loud "I'm so glad we don't live in California." Things aren't like before with Covid, but our kids are back in school in person, you can easily go out to enjoy nature (or even restaurants and shopping- masked, of course) without crowds, and even if we have to shelter at home, our property is so much bigger than in CA for a fraction of the cost. Covid will, we hope, get better, but the smoke will get worse. Winters here, unfortunately for the planet, are getting warmer and shorter. Things we love about Maine: nature, incredibly kind people, great schools, cost of living, traffic, no crowds, beautiful seasons, the ability to own a home, so much time (you don't realize how much of your life is spent commuting, not just to work but everything, until everything's within 15 minutes away)! What we miss: friends and diversity (of people and food). In short- no regrets! If we knew then what we know now, we absolutely would've regretted staying. It has made the difference between surviving and thriving, even though we wouldn't have thought of it as only "surviving" before.

    We moved to Maine from Berkeley in 2019 with our toddler and I am very grateful we did. Most of our friends here are either transplants or grew up in Maine and moved back in their 30s after living in DC/NYC/CA. Remarkably, we have several friends here from the Bay and even Berkeley.  It's been easy for us to make lots of new friends, though of course everything is different now thanks to COVID. We love being outdoors in all weather and live right on the coast. Politically, Maine is becoming more and more progressive, with Democrats now controlling the State House and the Governor's seat.

    Beyond the obvious of missing our Bay friends and family, we miss Burmese and Salvadoran food, though Portland has most other cuisines well covered, and we wish there were more BIPOC people here. Especially raising a white child, I worry about exposing him to enough cultures different from his own.   

    Overall, it was absolute the right decision for our family. I have not regretted it once, even when it's 10 degrees and windy! 

    We thought about this issue as well and came to the conclusion that 2 months of smoke here was preferable to anywhere else. With all due respect, 4 months winter in Maine seems optimistic. Perhaps spending a month or two in Maine during the smoke season here might be an alternative? 

    We moved back to the East Coast and closer to some family then wound up coming back to the Bay Area. We missed everything about it. This is home.

    From what I'm reading here, it sounds to me like staying local is the very best option. I've moved back and forth between the east and west coasts multiple times and if you have hesitations now, they are not going to go away in what I have experienced. Your neighborhood and local community (plus family) being local makes such a huge difference. This year has been brutal, east or west or in between. Staying connected to where you feel most comfortable and connected is priceless.

    We’re considering the same thing. We had to relocate at the beginning of the pandemic temporarily (or so we thought at the time) to my partner’s home state in order to take care of elderly parents. It was heartbreaking to see the wildfires from afar, and hear from friends about the smoky skies. We’re now considering selling our house and making our temporary relocation permanent, as our time away has given us a new perspective. I imagine with climate change that the wildfires will become a regular occurrence. That, combined with the earthquake potential, the property crime, the traffic, the COL, the general feeling of harassed busy-ness I remember from the Before times... all that made us realize that the quality of life wasn’t as good in the Bay Area as I had thought it was. We don’t have family in the Bay Area, though, so I imagine that factor would make the decision to leave a much more fraught one.