—photo by Tarmo Hannula/The Pajaronian

Smoke is back. The Zogg Fire has burned through 87 square miles and is only 39% contained. The Glass Fire, at 92 square miles, is threatening 29,835 homes and has led to the mandatory evacuation of the entire town of Calistoga in the popular Napa wine country. I’ve been to Calistoga before and found to be a charming place that still maintains some elements of older country charm. I sure hope the place is spared. The Glass fire has so far wiped out 419 homes. Much of our smoke is coming from those two fires. Last night I tried to photograph the full moon because it was a reddish orange hue as it acred over the smoky night sky.

The weather people are saying that major heat is upon us now, created by a lingering and stubborn high pressure ridge over much of California should start to ease later today and in a big way over the weekend. Next week is supposed to be much cooler. And the smoke is supposed to move on later Friday, as well.

I walked around parts of downtown Watsonville Thursday, braving the burning sun. Few people were out. One store that really seems to be doing well is Goodwill on Main Street. There seems to always be shoppers in there and often a line at the counter.

I spoke with my long time friend Jeff Rosendale, owner of Sierra Azul NurseryGarden today about how his long-standing business is doing out there on E. Lake Ave. by the Fairgrounds. I’m working on a story about how some local businesses are weathering the Covid nightmare and the fires… smoke blended with several brutal heat waves. I was glad to hear his upbeat remarks about doing really well. He said more and more people are turning to their gardens, with stay-at-home restrictions and less work hours. I was really refreshed to hear that he is hearing people say they are finding greater solace and peace in their gardens in an otherwise trying time.

President Trump announced last night that he and his wife, Melania, have tested positive for Covid-19. That came just a day after Hope Hicks, one of Trump’s advisors, came down with the virus.

There are now 34.2 million cases of Covid-19 in the world.  The U.S. has 7.27 cases with 207,808 deaths. The San Francisco Bay Area is reporting 103,706 cases with 1,526 deaths. Santa Cruz County has 2,427 cases with 12 deaths.

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Tarmo Hannula has been the lead photographer with The Pajaronian newspaper in Watsonville since 1997. More recently Good Times & Press Banner. He also reports on a wide range of topics, including police, fire, environment, schools, the arts and events. A fifth generation Californian, Tarmo was born in the Mother Lode of the Sierra (Columbia) and has lived in Santa Cruz County since the late 1970s. He earned a BA from UC Santa Cruz and has traveled to 33 countries.


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