Sunday, August 23, 2015

Wildfire Smoke in Portland

There are wildfires burning in Oregon and Washington right now. I've been watching the news about them, sad to see them destroying homes and much worse, that some firefighters have lost their lives. I was surprised to see that Washington is even accepting volunteers to help fire fight. I also hadn't thought about how the smoke from these fires would spread far beyond the flames, though that should have occurred to me. After all, I can vividly recall traveling through desert in eastern Oregon and seeing a ceiling of smoke due to wildfires (that's another story).

The smoke moved into Portland Friday night. I guess I recognized it in my sleep, because I dreamed about fire. I dreamed that someone was either burning a field or their trash, I'm not sure which, before the dream moved on to auto accidents that resulted in fires. This probably wasn't helped by the fact that I had both my windows cracked so that I could enjoy fresh air in my bedroom. Or, I was supposed to enjoy fresh air. Instead I woke up to smoky air, which was a bit alarming.

If you want to know what it's like for the fire fighters you might want to check the news. All I can tell you is what it's like in the Portland area, and that would be officially unhealthy, according to the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality.

map of air quality index

(Update added a bit after the rest of this post was written: I grabbed the above image late Saturday afternoon, about seven hours before I scheduled this post to go up. Doing a bit of double checking before letting this post go live I found that it's the same around Portland, with the differences being that there are now more red dots south of us plus one "very unhealthy" dot way on the other side of Mount Hood. That green dot is still there though.)

I guess it's not as bad as it could be, since the air quality is merely unhealthy and not hazardous where I am. Plus I suspect that the smoke overhead is helping to break the heatwave we've been experiencing. You know, keeping the sun off of us, like clouds would.

One of the strangest things about looking at the above map is seeing a little green dot of good air quality in between the red dots of unhealthy air. The wind's got to be doing interesting things for that to happen. And, as it happens, here's a video I found giving a visual of what the smoke has been and supposedly will be doing. It's fascinating, though it's in Washington whereas my map above is for Oregon.

Smell some smoke? Here's why.....I recorded the U.S. Forest Service's Blue Sky computer smoke forecast for the Northwest through Sunday night....made this "public" so share if you'd's where the smoke is coming from:
Posted by Bob Heye on Saturday, August 22, 2015

It seems that many of the fires aren't well contained, but I hope that changes soon. I also hope and pray that no more lives are lost in fighting the fires.


Debra She Who Seeks said...

Yes, we've been plagued all summer with forest fire smoke right across Western Canada. Hard on people with breathing conditions.

Sarita Rucker said...

Yeah, my mom has asthma so that's something I'm pretty aware of.