The Northwest seems to be on fire

Scorched Sky... When the world grows dark because devastation of the forest fires.

Scorched Sky… When the world grows dark because the devastating forest fires.

For weeks now, we haven’t seen much blue sky, but a smokey haze from horizon to horizon from the forest fires in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho.  The sunlight these past few weeks have been impeded by the firestorms around us.  The ground everywhere is dry and dusty. The lush greenery covering the forest floor is dying off and turning brown before the beginning of autumn.  People in the area are uneasy and some are creating contingency plans in case of a fire caused from future lightning storms, which are in  increase due to the smoke pollution.

This is by far the driest season we experienced in the past 5 years we have lived in Northern Idaho, and a few locals we know who have lived here most of their lives concur they haven’t seen a summer equal to it.  During the Fourth of July, people were already sensitive to the sincerity of our situation and many home fireworks shows were cancelled by homeowners to prevent potential problems from developing.  The Stage II fire alert has been in affect since July 14 and chainsaws go silent after 1:00 pm in the afternoon as per regulation.  Here is a map of the current fire restrictions.  The Northwest is facing some serious fire threats this summer because we did not receive the moist rainy June as usual.  Instead our heat of the summer and heat waves were early, drying everything out months before the fall rains.  When passing the fire alert sign we have seen “extreme” for almost two months now.  After living in the northwest my entire life, I can’t remember it ever being this bad. The fires are bad enough that there have been reports of firefighters losing their lives, homes being lost, large quantities of forests being destroyed, and the list goes on.

The Forest History Society “Burned timber on Rainey Creek in Lolo National Forest, Montana following 1910 fires.” See Link “Big Blowup”

However, history records other events in 1910 known as the Big Blowup, which forest fires devastated large portions of Idaho, Washington, and Montana.  A hundred and five years later and with a month of potential drought conditions remaining, 2015 maybe given a name to match that of the Big Blowup.

Living off the grid during fire season is unnerving.  Our ten acres is surrounded by state and private forest land.  As the smoke from the forest fires increase, the smoke affects the weather creating more dry thunderstorms and potential lightning strikes making the problem even worse.

Ash falls like snow... The gardens leaves catch the ash that drifts in from the forest fires over 30 miles away.

Ash falls like snow… The gardens leaves catch the ash that drifts in from the forest fires over 30 miles away.

As far as summer chores being accomplished, gathering firewood is almost at a standstill.  My wife and I thankfully had already accomplished gathering 8 cords of wood for next year and have neatly cut, split, and stacked it with another cord on the ground to spare.  With the continued smoke filled skies, we had to add forest fires and smoke to the list of situations that affect our solar panels power production.  For over a week now the smoke has been so thick that our panels are producing half of what they normally produce.   In our garden the large leaves of the squash plants are dotted with ash that trickles down upon us like snow from a fire over 30 miles away.  We will wait and see if the smokey cover will affect our garden and orchard’s production before the first fall frost.

A Lunar Smoke Eclipse?... This photo was taken August 24th a full month before the last of the tetrad blood moons of 2014-15. The rusty, red, orange color is caused by the smoke polluting the night sky from the various fires throughout the Northwest.

A Lunar Smoke Eclipse?… This photo was taken August 24th, 2015 a full month before the last of the tetrad blood moons of 2014-15. The rusty, red, orange color is caused by the smoke polluting the night sky from the various fires throughout the Northwest.

To end this post, we are simply praying for rain.  I have enjoyed the sun this summer, but as in all things, an excess of one thing isn’t always a good thing.


4 thoughts on “The Northwest seems to be on fire

  1. It’s very scary to be so close to so many fires. We are currently on an evacuation alert because of a fire just 12 miles from our little town. No one is particularly worried about evacuation becoming a reality at this point, but this is the closest I’ve been to a forest fire, and it’s nerve wracking, to say the least!

    I hope the fires in your area are contained quickly!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hopefully, rain will come this week and help the Northwest. We had a slight drizzle yesterday and early this morning, but not enough to knock the dust down on the ground. This is the first that I am ready for summer to be over and the fall rains to arrive.


  2. You are “spot on” with the fires… it’s been very scary for so many people. We DID finally get some rain today. I just hope it was enough to help a little on the fires still raging. Praying that your family and home are safe from all of the fires.. I’m afraid it may not be over quit yet. Sending love and BIG hug’s to the three of you. And be safe..
    Aunt Dawn (Pat) and Bruce ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Living with Natural Disasters… | Sun, Wind & Dirt

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