Open letter To The East Coast; Sucks To Be You Right Now
As Montanans, we know what fires can do to the air quality. It seems like when we thought one fire season couldn't be worse than the last, it is.
It got me thinking, how many times in the last few years has a good chunk of our state been ON FIRE? Remember 7-8 years back when the smoke from the fires in Glacier made the air smell like a campfire all over the state? Remember when you'd go out to your rig, and it got covered in ash overnight?
Every day on the news for the last couple of weeks, one of the stories is on the air quality in the mid to eastern section of America. "The air quality in New York is unhealthy", or "Everyone in Chicago is under an air quality alert this morning." and they show us pictures of these cities covered in smoke and ash. It's a serious situation.
Lately, this whole thing is really kind of ticking me off. Back about 3 to 4 years ago, our state was just on fire. I'd turn on the news, and they wouldn't even mention what was going on in Montana, but they'd report on this 40 acre or so fire in California every 15 to 30 minutes. So, I began a campaign emailing my news outlet relentlessly to show them pictures of Montana and what really being on fire is. It took 3 or 4 days, but suddenly my news station was covering the Montana fires, if only once an hour.
I get it, I can feel you thinking, "The population on that 40 acres in California is twice the population of the entire state of Montana."
Yeah, cry me a river. People live here too. People who are an integral part of making sure your family can go to a grocery store and get food and beer made in the USA.
I'm hoping now that the cities in America have to live through a real fire season, they'll start making note of the fact that our air quality has been at the "dangerous" or "unhealthy" levels for ENTIRE SUMMERS. No matter WHAT the population in areas are, it's newsworthy.
Have a great, smoky summer, east coast. Next time you blow off the fact that fires are burning up a less populated state, maybe, you choke on some ash your body has just gotten around to bringing up, to remind you all that it's a serious situation, EVEN WHEN it's not affecting city people.