Carr-Fire California Breathing: Real Men Wear Protection

In my new Carr-Fire reality, I wake up each morning and peer outside to see if my world is still standing. So far, it is, but I'm seeing my world through Carr-Fire smoke-colored glasses that mess with my brain.

Is that fog? Is it going to snow?

Only paid subscribers have access to our site's lead stories, as well as the Convo Cafe. When you become a recurring subscriber, you will have full access to all lead stories as well as the entire website. Plus, you'll have the option to receive email notifications of everything we post on

We look forward to you being part of's online family of paid subscribers. Your support helps us not just survive, but thrive and bring even more quality content to you by top-notch contributors and journalists about topics crucial to you, our region and our world.

Read more about our decision here.

Click here to subscribe!

Already a subscriber? Log in here.

Click here to see the latest Shasta County air quality warning.

Click here for more fire stories.  
Doni Chamberlain
Independent online journalist Doni Chamberlain founded what’s now known as in 2007 with her son, Joe Domke of the Czech Republic. Chamberlain is an award-winning newspaper opinion columnist, feature and food writer recognized by the Associated Press, the California Newspaper Publishers Association and E.W. Scripps. She lives in Redding, California.
Comment Policy: We welcome your comments, with some caveats: Please keep your comments positive and civilized. If your comment is critical, please make it constructive. If your comment is rude, we will delete it. If you are constantly negative or a general pest, troll, or hater, we will ban you from the site forever. The definition of terms is left solely up to us. Comments are disabled on articles older than 90 days. Thank you. Carry on.

18 Responses

  1. Matthew Grigsby says:

    I think I’ll join Paul for a run. You know, just so he doesn’t feel alone out there in the smoke.

  2. Bruce Vojtecky says:

    For residents of WHO’s top 32 most polluted cities, all in Asia or Africa, the conditions in Redding are a 365/24/7 reality everyday. Instead of “Snow days” for school closings they have “Smog days”. It is no comfort for north state residents but others have it worse. For Redding the light at the end of the tunnel is clear skies.

  3. Beverly Stafford says:

    When I sent photos of us wearing our masks to my niece, she wrote back: “Senior Storm Troopers, Commence!” We drove to Redding last Friday, thinking that Redding’s air quality would be even worse than that in eastern county. Not so. It’s just as smoky here as in Redding. When we lived in Alaska where blue sky is the norm and we’d visit relatives in Bakersfield where the sky was frequently yellow, we were happy to leave Bakersfield to visit relatives on the Central Coast where the sky was again blue. Right now, Bakersfield is appealing. Stay safe, everyone, and don your masks.

    • Well, there seemed to be a slight let-up in the smoke a few days ago (they blur), but smoke being how smoke is, it’s shifted and settled down in the valley with a vengeance. The night before last I was outside hand-watering, wearing a black top, and by the time I came in about 20 minutes later (wearing a mask, of course) the shirt was covered in tiny specks of white ash; like dandruff on sterioids. The ash is changing from those first days, where we found huge hunks of charred leaves.
      If you look at a map of the western part of the U.S., fires are everywhere. There’s almost no escaping it. And the poor folks in Sacramento are getting it from all sides.

  4. R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

    “He wears protection. When he runs.” LOL. I dropped a couple of face masks off at my parents’ house the other day. I went shopping for more at WalMart but they were all out when I was there. Smoke gets in everything. Yuck.

    • Beverly Stafford says:

      I checked online to see where to acquire masks. Since it was Sunday, all Owens pharmacies were closed. Only two were listed, one of which was Pier 1. I thought that was strange but went anyway. The clerk gave me a blank stare when I asked about masks, and I said that I figured the information was incorrect. A customer there suggested the Hallmark store, and sure enough, they had both the free ones and the $5 ones. I purchased two, and the clerk said that all proceeds go to the various relief funds.

      • Candace C says:

        Thank you Beverly, I was just wondering where to purchase and didn’t feel like trolling all the articles to find out. I know, pure laziness on my part, but thanks!

    • Well, RV, I hoped that line would get a chuckle. Mission accomplished. 😉
      The smoke is yuck. 🙁

  5. Candace C says:

    Runway ready smoke mask couture – gotta love it even if you hate wearing it.

  6. I should have mentioned in the column that I bought my masks at OSH on Athens in Redding. There were towers of them in the entryway. I think most hardware stores, Home Depot, Lowe’s, etc., have them.

  7. Joanne Snyder Joanne Snyder says:

    Thank you Doni. I’m going to try to score a mask for my husband and I tomorrow. Bob went to OSH and they wanted $24 for a batch of 10….we just want two and we’re trying to save money right now.

  8. George Koen says:

    I finally made the real man status!

  9. Hal Johnson Hal Johnson says:

    I dunno. I tried wearing one of them masks while singing yesterday, and it was kind of like wearing a raincoat in the shower.

    Wait. I might be getting my analogies mixed up.

  10. Adrienne Jacoby Adrienne Jacoby says:

    I just went thru the drive up window at Tri-County Bank in Cottonwood and made some remark to the effect of ” . . . I really should be wearing a mask.” The teller asked if I wanted one. She gave it to me free and it 299W (or whatever that magic number is) certified. I put it on then and there. I was able to see to drive home from Cottonwood. Driving down there earlier I had almost had to pull off the road because my eyes were crying so badly. Good on the folks at Tri-County!!

You must be a subscriber to comment. Click here to subscribe!