These past two weeks, I have watched summer plans vanish in a column of smoke. Or three columns, to be more precise. Twenty miles to the northwest, the Reading Fire sprawls across forty square miles in Lassen Volcanic National Park and the Lassen National Forest. Thirteen miles to the southwest, the massive Chips fire (at nearly 70 square miles) presses toward Lake Almanor and is the source of thick, choking smoke. The Mill Fire, thirty miles west, above Mill Creek, is not sending smoke our way, but does have the unfortunate effect of drawing my husband into 16-hour days away from home. Occasional clear mornings feel like a gift, a brief respite, but by late afternoon charred pine needles again sift down from the sky. Field season is over, camping plans postponed, trips to the lake not an option. We hunker down inside, but can’t help ourselves from flinging the windows wide open when the heat becomes too stifling.