This has been anything but a normal year, but when I first saw the lightning strikes, I thought, even for 2020, this is crazy. Waking me from sleep in my San Francisco home, forks of lightning lit up the pitch-black sky at a terrifying frequency and with deafening roars. It was beautiful. It was ominous. In all, there were almost 7,000 lightning strikes on that mid-August day, streaking across the urban landscape.
The following morning, we joked of the coming apocalypse, but little did we imagine that two weeks later we would literally find ourselves in a fiery, hellish landscape, obscuring the beauty of California behind smoke and fire, and leaving millions of people struggling with the health consequences of breathing these toxic fumes.
Coupled with climate change, heat waves and forest overgrowth, the lightning storms were the catalyst to the worst wildfire season the West Coast has seen in