Many of you know that I live in the state of Oregon on the west coast of the United States. We have copious amounts of beautiful scenery, old growth forests (in some locations), beaches, rivers and gorgeous mountains. We also have massive wildfires burning throughout the state right now. Almost a million acres have burned in just this past week. That’s larger than the state of Rhode Island. Over 500,000 people are in level 1-3 evacuation zones due to the rapid spread. Our air is filled with smoke, not just here in the Willamette Valley, we’re talking about the entire state. This morning the air quality index for Albany was 507 (255 as of 2 pm) . My sister & brothers in Eugene woke to 544 (400 at 2 pm). At 150, air is considered very unhealthy.
What’s occurring is unprecedented for our state and we can only hope for a weather shift to aid in controlling the spread. Change has been happening slowly. The initial wind storm started Monday afternoon and went through Wednesday. The winds were from the North East and super dry! It was like having a late fall/early winter windstorm but without the rain and humidity. Trees & branches fell on power lines, starting many fires. Normal humidity levels dropped to 10%. Today we’re back up above 50%! Early next week we should be receiving a little rain which will aid reducing air pollution. The firefighters will need weeks to gain control of the blazes. It probably won’t be until sometime in mid-winter they will be extinguished.
Firefighters are receiving help from the National Guard on Saturday. Teams are coming from other countries. Help is coming forward.
I don’t have other images to share of actual fires and forest destruction. You can all search for those online. Please ignore the crazy false stories that the fires were started by extremist groups, because they weren’t. Check the fire maps at Northwest Interagency Coordination Center or Oregon.gov for further information.
Stay safe out there!