Wildfire Weather

Yesterday and today, the smokey air from the wildfires in eastern Washington and Oregon has engulfed us in a hazy reek.  There is a definite smell of wood smoke and creosote in the air as if from a badly tuned stove.  Even the light is other worldly.  Sunshine coming through skylights and windows has an odd red-orange cast.

Looking southeast, this is Skagit Bay, the northern-most reach of Puget Sound.  The smoke has taken an amazing route to get here.  From east of the Cascade Mountains, it travels down the Columbia River Gorge, then up the Puget Sound Basin.  West of the mountains, Portland, Oregon has been getting the worst of it.  Even here in Skagit County, breathing the air produces irritation in the nose and throat.  I can't imagine what it must be like in the vicinity of the fires.

Last week, three firefighters were killed when their vehicle crashed and the flames rushed over them.  A fourth is in critical condition in the burn unit at Seattle's Harborview Medical Center.

The scope of these fires is unprecedented.  Entire communities have been evacuated.  Firefighters from as far away as Australia and New Zealand have come to assist.  Soldiers from Joint Base Lewis-McChord have also been deployed.  What we really need, of course, is rain.  Lots of rain.

Visit Skywatch Friday


  1. Went hiking yesterday at Mt. Si; the whole valley (upper Snoqualmie) was filled with heavy, smokey haze. I smelled it a bit but stayed in the trees/forest so not too bad. Noticed something I never have before - distressed and dying little evergreens alongside I-90 in the median and side of road out east of Issaquah. Very troubling. Rain rain rain!! Please!

  2. Oh My! Washington State just never fails to Amaze me! I was there just last month and I loved it! I wish to see more of it and now I see you beautiful skywatch photo! Pleas Take Care and be safe against the fire!

    Greetings from the Philippines!


  3. This is a great shot and reminds me of Vancouver several weeks back.

  4. hello Dave it has been a long time. But I had to come by just to let you know I finally made it back to Deception Pass for the day on August 16th. My 4 brothers and sisters go together for the weekend and we made one of our excursions to the state Park as we had all camped there as a family many times when we were younger. I couldn't believe all the people and how the beaches were so full. We hiked the trail going around the point and pass the bridge. It was such a joy to return to a place with so many memories of hiking and exploring the beaches. Just want to thank you for always posting about it so that I was able to suggest that we go there. Life is too busy for me these days renovating a house in town and living there, only come to the ranch a few days a week. The smoke has finally cleared even up here. Have wonderful fall. Hugs Here I Am Carrie

  5. Thanks everyone for the great comments and kind words.
    Carrie, great to hear from you. Keep in touch. PS, I've learned to stay away from the park during tourist season. I'll start visiting again when school starts. ;-)


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