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Surrounded by Smoke

September 8, 2011

Fire season has broken out across the country and we are no exception.  On our way home from Sacramento I didn’t mention that we were the last set of cars let through on Highway 26 because the ‘Powerline’ fire had just broken out and officials were about to close the highway (which stayed closed for several days).

We also drove through smoke from the fire near Kahneeta all along the route from 97 to Highway 35.

Just as we rounded the last bend in our road, almost home, we saw a huge billow of smoke across the river on the north face of Mt Hood. One of our neighbors called it in but was brushed off – authorities knew about it & it would burn itself out.  Oooookay.

The next day it wasn’t as windy, so didn’t look as bad but …um…is someone going to put it out?.  Now, 10 days later firefighters are having a difficult time controlling it according to latest news reports.

From September 1st to 3rd news reports said the fire doubled in size as the wind shifted from east to west.  Smokey skies at sunset are so vivid, but I’d rather use a filter to produce these colors.

A few of my Portland friends say they were infiltrated with smoke, but I can’t imagine it’s as smokey as we are in the Columbia River Gorge!

A few days ago a fire near Maryhill Museum disrupted traffic on Hwy 14, but was put out within a couple of days.  A fire near Satus Pass closed Hwy 97 for a brief time yesterday, and Box Canyon residents had to evacuate.

This morning as I hiked out to the bluff the fire alarm rang out.  I could smell smoke, but from where couldn’t tell.

Last night’s sunset had a more lavender than red tone, but we’re still smokin’ in the Columbia River Gorge.

Of course, none of our fires are as devastating as that in Bastrop Texas.

Godspeed to all firefighters, battling blazes this season.

Edit:  The fire on Satus Pass, now called the Monastery Complex Fire, has now claimed 9 homes and 10 outbuildings.  Hwy 97 has only one lane open and traffic is being escorted by a pilot car.  Evacuation center set up in Goldendale.

Incident info for Dollar Lake fire (thanks Cynthia)
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