Here we are, the final week of August, what we in the U.P. think of as the end of summer. And what’s the one lasting memory people might take away from the summer of ‘23? Well, I’m thinking it might be the amount of Canadian fire haze that’s graced our skies.
While it has provided us with some stunning backdrops for pictures, for the most part the haze has just been…there– blocking the sun and giving us a small taste of what the final remaining dinosaurs must have seen 65 million years ago.
I kept track, and counted at least 22 days since June 1st with some haze. And that’s not even considering the cloudy days where you couldn’t tell if there was any. Most of those 22 days you could smell it; on a lucky few, you could even taste it.
I’m not ragging on Canada. I have nothing against Canada. My great-grandfather was born in Canada as his family made their way from Ireland to the UP, so, technically, I’m one eighth Canadian myself.
Plus, Canada gave us hockey, which means that most of the U.P. will love it forever.
But the fire haze? Eh…not so much.
You do have to feel sorry for Canada, though. 38 million acres have burned there this year. 38 million. For comparison’s sake, the size of the entire U.P. is 10.5 million acres. That means Canada has lost the equivalent of almost four U.P.s-worth of land to the fires.
So, really, we have nothing to complain about.
Hopefully, this will not become an annual event. Hopefully, it will be one of those once in a century tragedies, and not one of those once in a century tragedies that happens every four or five years.
But if our skies become hazy again next summer and we start to moan, maybe, just maybe, we should realize that our friends across Lake Superior have it a whole lot worse than we do– because think of what their lasting memory of this summer will be.
I’m Jim Koski, and that’s another slice of “Life in the 906.”