There are certain things in life upon which we can depend without reservation.
The fog clearing on Highway 101 around Geyserville.
I have driven north on Highway 101 through Sonoma County during the morning hours hundreds of times.
Most of those mornings have been foggy – sometimes thick and soupy, other times with breaks in the banks of clouds.
The fog is in evidence as the 101 cuts through the communities of Rohnert Park and Santa Rosa and Windsor and Healdsburg. And then, with rare exceptions, it dissipates as the vineyards of Geyserville come into view.
And so it was on my most recent trip to Sonoma County wine country. Only this time, the fog gave way not to rays of sunshine, but rather to a thick layer of white smoke, caused by the numerous wildfires raging in the region.
You may have seen reports on the fires on your favorite news channel. I know I have, and all I can say is that you can’t realize how bad things are until you’ve driven through the fire area and breathed in those smoky fumes.
And the fires haven’t been limited to just northern California. Santa Barbara wine country has been impacted as well, particularly by the blaze in and around Goleta, known as the Gap Fire.
It will take some time to assess the total impact of what will go down in history… at least up until now… as California’s worst-ever fire season. The state’s winegrape industry is just one of many that has had to deal with some nerve-racking, sometimes perilous conditions this summer.
Tomorrow: The wineries of Humboldt County.