The smoke gets in your eyes

Smoky, hazy conditions the past couple of days have been a reminder – for those who needed it – of the natural disasters taking place to our west. While many, most even, are focused on the scenes of utter devastation coming from the Gulf Coast and Florida, the reality of what’s happening in the Pacific Northwest should be pretty obvious this week.

It’s amazing how quickly the news cycle can roll something new into the public consciousness. The wildfires were driven off the front page by a hurricane, which was then driven off the front page by a second hurricane. New tragedy doesn’t lessen the impact of the prior one; it only lessens the focus on the first.

Minot and regional residents are doing a tremendous job reaching out and securing ways to help those people who survived the twin killer hurricanes down south. We should be so proud of our community for responding the way it has to other Americans in need.

However, there is need close to home, just to the west of us. As we support charitable efforts for survivors of the hurricanes, let’s not forget the needs of people close to home, just to our west, seeing their spectacularly beautiful part of this nation engulfed in flames.

This week’s smoke in our area should be a reminder. We are a charitable community. We are a county that supports our countrymates in need. Let’s not forget those folks to our west. Whether fire, water or ice, natural disasters come in many forms (we should know this from 2011!). Let’s be aware and do what we can to mitigate for the suffering of our fellows wherever they might be.

That haze in our sky is minute evidence of what our neighbors face.

Let’s make sure to be the best we can, the best we are as a community and as a people – and do whatever is possible to support all victims of natural disasters.