Greetings from Seattle



Thursday, August 20, 2015

Burning Up

It is as I feared.  Our long, hot, dry summer has created the perfect conditions for wildfire. 

You have probably seen the reports on the national news. 
300,000 acres are currently burning in just one huge fire in Washington state. That one was a killer.  Three firefighters died when they crashed their vehicle trying to escape the fire. They survived the crash but could not outrun the flames.

Wildfires are burning all over the west.  Here are the fire locations in Oregon, Washington and Idaho. 

 None of these are my photos, of course.  I have taken them from news sources on the Internet.

The most effective way to fight these fires is with fire, setting backfires to burn the fuel in front of the raging inferno. It's up close, hot, dangerous work. 
Air craft are also used, tanker planes and heavy lift helicopters. 
 Today the winds have been blowing in 35 mph in Central Washington, fanning the flames and increasing the spread. 
 Many homes have been destroyed.  Firefighters struggle to save towns that have been evacuated.


 Sometimes even rivers are not enough to stop wind driven fire. 

Where there is not fire, there is smoke. Residents are suffering from smoke laden air in areas not impacted by flames - at least not yet.

It's only the  middle of August. If our weather is typical, we won't get heavy rain until mid to late September. 

We are cooler here on the western side of the mountains today, with onshore airflow moving in off the coast to bring light rain and cool air this morning. Today it was 70. Yesterday it was 90. But there is not much relief east of the mountains, and our respite just increased their winds. 

Many of our wildfire fighters are young people working summers to put themselves through school, or loggers out of work, or they are volunteers from city departments, or National Guard called into service.  Keep them in your thoughts and prayers.  

15 comments:

  1. Western North America has really had it's share of fires. July was terrible here. Since then we've had rain and cooler weather.

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  2. Oh my goodness, what a shocking sight. You are all in my prayers, praying for a speedy end to those fires and no more loss of life.

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  3. Such dramatic images of these awful fires. The fire fighters are in my thoughts and prayers!

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  4. We have definitely been saddened by the terrible drought and what it's done to our beautiful green forests. I have been watching with dismay as many of the places I have traveled have burned. We were talking yesterday about the evacuation of entire cities like Twisp and Winthrop. It's terrible what is happening and I just hope they can get these fires under control soon. Very informative post. :-(

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  5. Sad to see those photos. We have wildfires here, too, but not on such a massive scale as yours.

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  6. Such a tragedy and such heroes. Please no more lives lost.

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  7. It is hard to imagine the scope of these fires and the damage being done. I have a friend who is a retired smoke jumper. He often says it is hugely dangerous work even for those who are highly trained. I am so concerned about those that are new to the awful task.

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  8. Too much fuel to burn and a drought that is a bad combination! Firefighting is hard work, I hope your weather changes soon:)

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  9. This is one of the negative aspects of the heat. Here in Montreal, Canada, it was so dangerously hot and humid for 4 days that Environment Canada issued warnings to people. Today is more comfortable, perhaps tomorrow as well, then Sunday the extreme heat will be back. Amazing photos.

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  10. I've heard and watched on TV about the terrible fires, but have seen nothing like what your pictures show. How awful! I hope and pray they get these fires under control soon.

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  11. My son and his family live in Aeneas Valley and are under a level 3 evacuation notice. They have chosen to stay put and defend their home, which terrifies me, but they have always planned for fire, so they have a big green area all around their buildings and a good spring and two ponds full of water. My son and grandson are both trained firefighters and are keeping watch. I never thought I would say I hope summer ends soon, but I'm definitely ready for fall and an end to this nightmare!

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  12. This is just awful! I didn't realize there were so many fires burning in different states. We are getting a little rain today, but this summer's drought, right after the two months of devastating floods has just made this a nightmarish year of bad weather. Praying for all those involved, especially the firefighters who risk their lives to help.

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  13. Fires are terrifying. We have skies full of smoke. I've closed off the house as I am suffering from allergies brought on by the smoke. I didn't even venture out to walk the dog this evening. I think of those fire fighters, as you say our young people, and wonder how they can possibly work under the conditions in which they are working. It is devastating to think of those lost to these fires. My heart goes out to all. They are in my prayers.

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  14. I think of you with every news story..... This is horrific...

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