I saw the cloud as I left my house that morning. It was rather odd, as the weather forecast had said it would be sunny. But the cloud--it was a dark gray with a strange orange tinge.
I didn't think too much more about it. I was running late. I got to the school, got into the class, and got the day started. Then the class's instructional aide arrived.
"Is there a fire someplace?"
Ah ha! That's what that cloud was!
A quick internet search gave me a location (I'm referring to the Colby Fire). Close enough that we would see the smoke cloud. (The fire was big enough to to give off such a huge cloud.) Far enough away that we were in no danger. So, we just needed to go on with our day.
I took a peek outside. The cloud had grown. What had been cloud-like was now a streak covering all the sky to the north of us. And, of course, we could smell it.
"They have to cancel school. This is unsafe."
The air quality wasn't ideal. Asthma sufferers and other breathing-issue people probably needed to take it easy. But the rest of us could muddle through. We stayed indoors. We kept the doors closed. There was no reason to cancel school.
The students didn't see it that way.
Some ash misted down. Girls who went outside to go to the restroom returned complaining of ash in their hair and eyes. I noticed it most when I left for the day (my car was lightly dusted with it).
Of course, if it had been that bad, no one would have willingly gone outside. But try telling that to them. No, it was a danger, and we had to go home.
Any excuse to get out of school...