Raging Fires, Choking Air, Tiny Stories

Six-word tales from the burning West

Photo by James Todd on Unsplash


Lights on at noon in California.


That’s not snow falling; that’s ash.


Smoke seeps through walls and windows.


Nothing says apocalypse like poison skies.


Just breathe? Easier said than done.


The color of catastrophe is orange.


  1. Brilliant bare-bones picture of the burning West. My Oregon son and daughter-in-law have been in PA visiting for my father-in-law’s funeral service. They left to go home today. I worry about the smoke they will encounter when they get home!

    • I’m sorry for the reason they were visiting you, but glad they were with you in PA — and I truly hope they’re not in one of the worst-hit areas in Oregon. I can’t believe the photos I’m seeing of Talent, near Ashland — we know Shakespeare Festival actors who have homes (or did, at any rate) in Talent, and I shudder to think what’s become of them. Thanks for reading and commenting, Laurie, and sending you and yours thoughts of comfort and peace.

    • Truth, Nick — I worked for the American Lung Association for six years, and I know just enough about particulate matter and lung disease to keep me awake at night when the air’s bad — and these days, it’s bad a lot of the time!

    • Thanks, Barb. I’m thrilled to say that the air has improved vastly the past two days where I live . . . but not in many other regions of the West including where my family members live. None of us out here take fresh air for granted anymore, that I can tell you!

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