Wildfires are a reality of living in the West each summer, I’m starting to realize. The Pacific is so cold compared to the Atlantic that there isn’t enough heat to kick much humidity up into the air. Generally, that’s a great thing, but long, dry summers are the norm out here. Some fires start from human negligence, but most start from lightning strikes — part of the normal pattern of death and rebirth in the Cascades.
For the last few mornings it has been clear in Portland (meaning, no clouds), but smoke from nearby fires tint the rising sun a rich red color. I see it every morning on the ride to work downtown. By midday, it’s hazy, and we’ve never smelled the smoke in the city, but for the last few days, it’s always there.