Tag Archives: Forest fires

Smoke: The sequel

Smoke is no exception to the rule that the sequel is always worse. Probably because of the wind direction, the smoke from a new batch of forest fires surrounds us. The smell is the worst yet. The basalt hills are not yet completely screened out, but this time we are surrounded on all sides. It’s thick. Effie of course wants to be out in Effieland. I picked some catnip sprigs for her to eat indoors. She was momentarily compensated but now wishes to be let out again.

It’s going to be kind of a day here. . . .

Effie looks longingly through the window at her beloved Effieland  and I try to combine consolation with my chores. She caught and ate a tiny bug, which brought her transitory happiness.

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Restoration. . .for now

The smoke is entirely gone! The wind dispersed the smoke–the rain never showed up. The sky is blue again, accented with white clouds, and the basalt hills are out of the smokescreen and back to their beautiful rock-brown contours.

The smoke was blown away, but fires in western Montana, central Oregon, and central Washington continue to burn. If the wind quits or blows toward eastern Washington, the smoke will return to our valley. I posit it will not be well received.

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Effie desponds over Effieland precautions

Effie’s veterinarian recommended pets should be kept indoors until the smoke from the forest fires departs. Effie yowled in protest, and my husband was quite sure the smoke hadn’t killed or sickened us, and Effie was likely more resilient.

I’ve been letting her out for a half-hour to an hour at a time, and she seems perfectly well. She becomes understandably grumpy when I bring her in, unless she wants to come in.

I limit her time outdoors only because of our vet’s advisory. It’s difficult, because Effie yowls incessantly if she can’t be outdoors when she wants to be in her wonderful garden place, Effieland.

She came in a little while ago–actually I entered Effieland and carried her into the house. She ate some of her food and retreated to her window perch, looking somewhere between not amused and somewhat despondent.

“The smoke cannot retreat soon enough. . . .”

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The color of When?

Normally we see fields of grain and the basalt walls of Hells Canyon. I titled this photo “The color of prairie” when I took it on a beautiful morning last October.

This is essentially the same view, but with forest fire smoke. According to our local newspaper, the smoke could clear tomorrow–if (a) sufficient rain falls tonight; and (b) wind of sufficient velocity blows in from the right direction.

Such suspense!

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Smoke Sun

My husband Vic took this photo of the fiery-red sun in the smoke-grey sky as it set just before 7:00 this evening. The smoke from forest fires as far as 150 miles away has been a real bane, but at least it sent a rosy greeting.

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Necessary gear for a quick outdoor excursion

Don’t worry: I promise this is not a fashion statement. Because of sun sensitivity, my “blast shields” and hat are always on when I venture outdoors, but today’s smoke suggested a particle mask for protection when I let Cat Halvor out of the shop and fetched the eggs from our chickens.

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Effie: “Smoked in, and boy am I hissed!”

Grrr. . .I’d rather be romping in my Effieland place! But my Mom had to go and call the vet and ask whether it was safe for me to go outside. The office has been instructed to recommend that pets be kept indoors. Smoke from the forest fires is worse than ever. My Mom and Dad were talking about it being declared unhealthy for everybody, not just sick people.

But my Mom loves me and we play with toys, and she combs me, and makes bread that smells really good in the oven. She promised she would stay home with me all day, too! She doesn’t do well with the smoke–she gets dizzy. She usually goes out to get groceries on this day of the human week, but Dad’s going to take her tonight instead. They probably think the smoke will go away by then.

I wish I could be out romping in my beloved Effieland, but there aren’t even any birds out, and not even any bugs, either! Mom’s going to clean a bunch of things today, like the refrigerator and the upholstered chairs and my window perch, and the insides of the windows where I leave my adorable little prints of my nose and my toes.

I have also made plans to take lots of baths and naps.

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Where there’s smoke, there needn’t be ire

It’s back. Smoke from lightning fires in central Washington has blown east to the Palouse. We can see the hills this time, but the sky is a pale smoke grey, and the sun, while we could see it, was bright orange-red.

We live close to nature, and we love it here. Nature is temperamental, but there’s nothing we can do about it. We have  incredible, well-equipped people who can put out fires. On the west side of the state, Highway 410 had to be closed because of the fires. I am not aware of any such inconveniences on the east side where we are.

It’s okay. This is God and Nature. It’s not our turn to think we run things on this planet. I happen to know who does: my six-year-old granddaughter; and of course, our cat, Effie.

Effie, Supreme Allied Cat

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We have Rain!

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The fires are in retreat. Rain is surely the best provision God has given to bless the earth, since the dove’s return to Noah with an olive leaf.

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Fires

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The scene outside my house looks like a set from Lawrence of Arabia or Hidalgo. The wind is terrible, the smoke is terrible, the dust is terrible, the threat is terrible. We are safe. Somehow, our little sector, close to a growing number of “fire complexes” burning in three states (Washington, Idaho, and Oregon), has not attracted the dreaded element of fire. I am anxious for friends with property in the fires’ paths. It’s heart rending, thinking of their heart ties to their land.

Three men, the youngest just 20, have perished fighting the fires. The fires could continue into October. We’re having one of the driest seasons on record. The promise of rain flirts, one day after another; only wind comes.

But consolation is not something extractable from the atmosphere.

But when I hoped for good, evil came,
and when I waited for light, darkness came.

My inward parts are in turmoil and never still;
days of affliction come to meet me. –Job 30:26-27 (ESV)

And God leads Job to the faith He has provided him, which unlocks the resolution to his turmoil:

Then Job answered the Lord and said:

“I know that you can do all things,
and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.”–Job 42:1-2 (ESV)

Sometimes finding my eyes of faith is like trying to see through smoke in a sandstorm.

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