11 September 2020

The fires in Oregon

In case anybody's been wondering, I don't think I'm at much risk from the fires afflicting this state.  The worst fires near Portland are in Clackamas county, south of the city.  The nearest serious news is that the town of Molalla (population 8,100) has been evacuated as a precaution.  Molalla is at least fifteen miles south of here.  In between is the Willamette river (pronounced wil-LAM-mit), which is about six hundred feet wide at that point.  Even if the fire reached the river and managed to cross it, it would need to burn through several miles of suburbia before it got to me -- which is possible (those suburbs are full of old-growth trees), but I assume a lot of resources would be thrown into protecting an area inhabited by tens of thousands of people.

For several days our area (and most of Portland) has been afflicted with smoke, which can often be smelled strongly outdoors, and sometimes even indoors with windows closed.  The sky is so hazy that the light filtering through the window-blinds is distinctly reddish (the first time I noticed this I vaguely wondered if I'd been transported to Hell, which I wouldn't actually have too much of a problem with if they'd brought the entire apartment along and my internet still worked).  This is a nuisance but nothing like the threat of the actual fires.

Those fires have certainly done a lot of damage elsewhere in the state.  About 900,000 acres have burned, compared with 500,000 for all of 2019.  The worst destruction has been in the small towns of Talent and Phoenix (devastated), where about two thousand people have been left homeless.  Those places are in the Medford-Ashland area almost two hundred miles from here.

The feds have approved emergency aid.  For a fire, I assume Trump will not come here and throw paper towels at us.  Maybe he'll send rakes.  Next week we're supposed to get lower temperatures and a little rain, which I hope will help.  The worst of the summer heat here normally tends to subside by mid-September, though in the last few years it has sometimes persisted longer.  We'll see.

[Image at top:  fire near Lionshead peak, about seventy miles southeast of here]


Blogger Leanna said...

I'll give the Goddess something shiny so she will help to put a stop to these fires. Otherwise I hope you won't lose your home.

11 September, 2020 02:00  
Blogger Debra She Who Seeks said...

Scary stuff! Stay safe!

11 September, 2020 05:40  
Blogger Sixpence Notthewiser said...

(the first time I noticed this I vaguely wondered if I'd been transported to Hell, which I wouldn't actually have too much of a problem with if they'd brought the entire apartment along and my internet still worked). OMG I cackled so hard.

And I really hope there's some rain soon and that the fires really don't get out of control. It's been horrible in California. Hopefully you'll be safe, what with the river and all that suburban sprawl in between you and the fire...


11 September, 2020 06:05  
Blogger Mary said...

I hope you remain safe..it’s a terrible situation. Where will all these displaced people go? It’s just awful!

11 September, 2020 09:54  
Blogger Mike said...

Where is all the rain that is usually hanging around that part of Washington? When we visited Seattle it seemed like it would rain just a little every 5 minutes.

11 September, 2020 11:27  
Blogger Ami said...

I'm guessing Trump will send red hats.
MAGA can also mean 'make America green again' after all.

I'm not enjoying the smoke and ash, but I'm glad to be in the general Portland area instead of Estacada or Sandy.

The weather guys say Monday is going to have rain. I'm hoping for a lot, but I'll settle for enough to clear some of the crap from the air.

KATU said that right now, PDX has the worst air quality in the world.
See? We can do more than riots and granola!!

11 September, 2020 11:39  
Blogger Mary Kirkland said...

It's just terrible. I'm glad you're ok though.

11 September, 2020 12:16  
Blogger Lady M said...

We have had terrible fires here in Colorado and some awful air quality. We were warned about climate change. I think we are seeing the results - longer fire seasons, longer hurricane seasons, erratic weather patterns. It breaks my heart. Stay Safe.

11 September, 2020 13:25  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Leanna: Tell her to send rain.....

Debra: I intend to.

Sixpence: Big cities do have that advantage. Looking at what's happened in some of the small towns, Hell might be an improvement.

Mary: Some hotels have been offering free rooms to fire refugees -- I guess they're not renting much anyway, with travel down due to covid-19. It's a terrible situation, though. The Red Cross has set up a disaster relief fund (I donated this morning).

Mike: Summer is the only non-rainy season. I'm hoping the rain will be back very soon.

Ami: Red hats? I guess we could cut them up for breathing masks -- but they're made in China so they're probably toxic.

I can believe it about the air quality. I can't even open the windows at night for ventilation. The smoke smell is too strong.

Mary K: Thanks. It's scary, but I think my area is safe.

Lady M: Dang, Colorado too? First they cancel the coffin races and now this. And yes, I'm sure this is exacerbated by global warming.

11 September, 2020 15:50  
Blogger jenny_o said...

I hope you continue to be safe, Infidel. Fire is serious stuff. Take care.

11 September, 2020 16:39  
Blogger Dave Dubya said...

My heart goes out to those affected by the fires. I have first hand experience with these terrible forces of nature. When I was a young man I fought a 70,000 acre fire for six weeks. It was dirty, dangerous and exhausting. I won't use my indoor fireplace to this day.

11 September, 2020 16:43  
Blogger Bohemian said...

I do hope you continue to be Safe. We're seeing the Smoke and smelling the Fires all the way in Phoenix. It has almost made the Mountains surrounding the City invisible and made the air quality crap. So I cannot even imagine living closer to the disaster areas!

12 September, 2020 01:38  
Anonymous Bohemian said...

We can see the Smoke and smell it all the way to Phoenix, I can't imagine being closer since it's made it difficult to breath here!

12 September, 2020 01:40  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Jenny_o: Thanks, and you too. I know you have your own crisis to deal with.

Dave: It sounds terrifying, and of course firefighting is one of the riskiest jobs. Fires even in fireplaces make me a little nervous.

Bohemian: Thanks. The smoke is still pretty bad. The wind has shifted and it's improved a little, but I still can't open the windows. The smell outside is too strong.

12 September, 2020 02:21  
Blogger Annie Asks You said...

Thank you for this report; I had been concerned. Actually, I’m still concerned, though less so about you. How terrible for all these people to lose their homes in the midst of a pandemic. Of course it’s related to climate change: just another instance of what denigrating science can do. Stay safe.

So our leader’s administration has shown its appreciation for valiant firefighters by siphoning money out of their 9/11 health funds to recoup NYC debts. You may feel like you’re in Hell, but I think the address is 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

12 September, 2020 08:52  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

It's horrible. The number confirmed dead is now up to 26 and thousands have lost everything. I feel like it's becoming too dangerous to live in a forested area.

Yes, it's a kind of Hell -- Hell for the innocent, not the guilty.

12 September, 2020 18:50  
Blogger Steve. Because 'Steve' is almost as nice a name as 'Paul'. said...

Here in a roundabout way from Mistress Maddie's place. I grew up in Clackamas County. Now I live five blocks from the Canadian border and the sky is orange and the air quality is at the 'Danger' level. I looked online at a satellite view of the fires in the Cascades, and Oregon has a red stream running from border to border. I am grieving for my old home, and all the places I loved. This was the inevitable result of the funding cuts to BLM, the Forest Service and state woodland services. My son and his family were relocated from Molalla...and I'm here in Washington state, waking up every morning with the windows covered in soot, unable to leave the house. I remember the heat wave in 1972 and the aftermath, so I have hope...but I never thought I'd see it happen all over again. Be well and stay safe.

12 September, 2020 23:46  
Blogger Mary said...

This is just unbelievable. I hope you are still safe. The amount of lose and tragedy is mind blowing.
Makes one wonder how religious people continue to say god is good, works in mysterious ways and is all loving.

13 September, 2020 05:46  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Steve: For the state as a whole things are still bad. We're at over a million acres burned now. It must be terrible for your son, having to leave his home and not knowing what's happening there. Still, there's been a favorable shift in the wind and rain is expected tomorrow night, so Molalla is probably out of danger.

Mary: I think so. Some of the nearer towns have been taken off standby for evacuation. But the smoke is thicker than ever. The apartment building across the street from me is gloomy and shrouded. It's like a dense fog.

13 September, 2020 09:30  
Blogger yellowdoggranny said...

dang Leanna..

13 September, 2020 16:09  

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