I Could See and Feel the Smoke Thickening As I Drove West
I currently drive every Sunday to Hood River to pick up my son Titus from his Dad who lives in Portland. It comes out to 5 hours from Boise to Hood River each way, so at least 10 hours every week, just driving. Sure I make stops along the way to fuel up, get food, explore or even paddle board, but not this time.
I have seen some interesting things on these usually beautiful drives. A few months back as I was driving in (this time I went all the way into Portland, not just Hood River) I saw pods of huge military vehicles and troops heading out of Portland and going East on 84. After the 3rd group of them passed me I realized I was watching the federal military troops that were sent into Portland to stop the riots heading back out and leaving.
I went again yesterday as is my current weekly ritual and the further west I went the worse the air quality got to the point that I was wearing two masks inside my car with my circulating filter on because it hurt to breathe. As soon as I dropped down from the mountains and into Pendleton there was a noticeable difference. It was nothing compared to what it was like as I continued West. Even when the water of the gorge was right next to me I could hardly see it. The smoke was so bad, so dense that it was like a thick fog. I sent a video to Angela on our sister station and she replied with it looks like a sepia filter in real life. Needless to say I scooped my little guy up and we headed straight back and didn't stop until we got passed the mountain like up over Pendelton.
Portland and surrounding areas now has the worst air quality in the world. They are getting a few sprinkles tonight but some decent rain on Thursday should help clear things a bit, although until the fires are really contained the air quality will continue to be a problem for all of the northwest.
As of right now at least 55 people are missing in the Oregon fires and at least 8 have died and thousands of been evacuated and thousands of homes have already burned and just over a million acres.
The Idaho Department of Environmental Quality has issued a Red Air Quality Advisory for the Treasure Valley. This means that the air is unhealthy for sensitive groups. Once the air quality has improved the advisory will be lifted. This advisory means no open burning of any kind is permitted.
Here is an Idaho air quality map