Smoke and bad luck days

It's Friday the 13th today. Yesterday saw this area banked in with nasty smoke from wildfires near the coast. They'd been suffering the effects of those fires for nearly a week but it was our first taste of it here, a couple of hours away from the coast. I can't say I liked it. But since today's a lot better, I'm wondering if it was Thursday the 12th that was unlucky--at least in this area of NC.

It was quite murky here in the Chapel Hill area but just 30 miles to the East in Raleigh apparently it was dark enough to force people to use headlights while driving:

Many drivers switched on their headlights in the middle of the day to help negotiate streets around Raleigh and be seen by other drivers.

"Most of the cars have their lights on today. I noticed it in commuting across the city," driver Dave Bamford said.

The smoky conditions definitely got everyone's attention on Thursday. The smoke prompted more than 300 people to call Wake County 911 on Thursday to report what they believed was a nearby fire, authorities said.

Closer to the fire, some residents in eastern North Carolina said they haven't seen the sun for days because of the smoke. A hospital in Hyde County moved its respiratory-care unit to get it as far away from the smoke plume as possible.

Prevailing winds had carried smoke from the fire over the Outer Banks for the past week before a cold front and a low-pressure system moved across the state late Tuesday. That circulation brought easterly winds that began to carry the smoke to the Triangle.

Lightning sparked the fire June 1 in the Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge, and it has burned more than 40,000 acres – about 63 square miles – in Hyde, Tyrrell and Washington counties. It is the largest wildfire in North Carolina in more than 20 years and is the largest fire now burning in the U.S., forestry officials said.

I was quite surprised at just how much smoke was evident here, 150 miles from the site of the fire, but I suppose I shouldn't have been. Recent history, such as the extensive fires in Florida, Montana, and California, has shown just how widespread the effects from wildfires can be. Furthermore, events in this nation's early history also illustrate this:

At noon, it was black as night. It was May 19, 1780 and some people in New England thought judgment day was at hand. Accounts of that day, which became known as 'New England's Dark Day,' include mentions of midday meals by candlelight, night birds coming out to sing, flowers folding their petals,and strange behavior from animals. The mystery of this day has been solved by researchers at the University of Missouri who say evidence from tree rings reveals massive wildfires as the cause.

According to the article, the limited ability for long distance communication in Colonial America prevented people from knowing the cause of the darkness. The dark clouds extended from Maine in the north, along the southern coast of New England, all the way down to New Jersey where General George Washington noted the dark day in his diary.

Nearly 230 years later, University of Missouri researchers combined written accounts and fire scar evidence to determine that the dark day was caused by massive wildfires burning in Canada. They found that a major fire had burned in 1780 which ended up affecting atmospheric conditions many hundreds of miles away. Amazing.

I wonder if that was on Friday the 13th as well.


Weird. I'm over here debating going out or staying home...
Bob-kat said…
That sounds like a mighty big fire! Apparently the pollution in the atmosphere should bring along some nice sunsets though!

I'm not superstitious about Friday 13th or the number 13 at all. In fact, I'm not especially superstitious!
No_Newz said…
You don't strike me as superstitious. I'm thinking you and everyone else in NC will be hunky dory. Keep your hose in you hand, just in case. Not THAT hose! :P
Nina said…
Julie had to keep her kid in the house all day yesterday because the smoke was so bad. I hope it is better today.
tiff said…
It was pretty darned this in WF yesterday, but today is clear as abell. thank goodness for wind shifts, eh?
kenju said…
The smoke was so bad here that I got a horrible headache. I had my lights on, too.
SassyAssy said…
Yo! I think you sent it my got real smokey up here this afternoon!
mariam said…
I tagged you.

Talking about smokes, I still remember the last wildfire here in the SD. One of my neighbors had to go to the hospital because she had inhaled too much smoke. She was at a friends when the fire reached their place, so they had to evacuate, faster than the speed of the wildfire, but apparently the smoke got them...!

srp said…
There is also one in the Great Dismal Swamp at the border of Virginia and North Carolina. Depending on which way the wind is blowing, that gives us the same type of haze and a major stink. Have they said how the wildlife are making it down in that refuge fire?
utenzi said…
I'd have to say that we're talking about the same fire, Roxanne.

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