Summer of Smoke

I live in the Inland Northwest, in the high desert of Eastern Washington where the Selkirk Mountains — a chain technically geologically older and separate — join the Rockies, though where one begins and the other ends, I personally have never been able to determine. It’s a beautiful area, although for the past two weeks, I wasn’t able to see more than a few hundred feet from my house.  Smoke from huge forest fires throughout Washington, Oregon, California and British Columbia blanketed the area, creating a low-lying thick fog of particulate matter.  Cars used headlights during the day and even people without severe breathing issues wore masks when they went outside. I don’t know how the outdoor animals coped. A friend chided me, reminding me that we had our lives, we had our homes, we should have been grateful for those things instead of complaining. I don’t like being a whiner — but I haven’t seen any blue sky for weeks and I miss it terribly.  I drove across the state the other day and the smoke continued for the full three hundred miles to Seattle and included that city as well — and from what I understand, extended all the way to the Pacific. What normally would be our season for swimming, hiking and camping became a time for reading and watching movies. Finally last evening, it cooled and some rain fell, so there was a little relief — but if predictions are correct, a season of smoke will be our norm in future years.  If smoke follows beauty, as people around a campfire like to say, then the Northwest was as beautiful as it could get this summer.

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1 Response

  1. Mogie Sabine says:

    I remember reading all the signs in the park in St. Regis about the terrible fire up on the St. Joe river and in Wallace back in about 1903. I’ll bet there was a lot of smoke then too. But alas, I think you are right…. no more camping/outdoor summers for us….. not until we have burned everything down. Mogie

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