This photo was taken about forty miles from Portland, almost an hour ago (EDIT: By which I mean Monday night, around 10:30):
They’ve closed the major highway that’s next to the river, I-84 (this photo was taken from the opposite bank of the Columbia River). They had to evacuate several towns, and rescue 140 hikers. The most recent estimate I can find is 4,800 acres are on fire.
The sun has been red all day. The moon is so obscured by smoke it’s dark red and barely visible even though it’s only a few days from full.
It’s raining ash so heavily in Portland that people are comparing it to the ash fall after Mt. St. Helens blew in 1980. Right now, at night, in the headlights of cars it looks just like snow flurries. On my two-mile bicycle ride home I kept having to blink it out of my eyes (it feels like sand, almost). It’s collecting on flat surfaces. I tried to breathe through my nose but then my nose ran too much–I’ll probably ride to work tomorrow with a scarf over my face. I kinda wish I had either prescription swimming goggles or a snowboarding mask or something.
Only a third of houses in Portland have a/c and it’s super hot still; I can’t imagine being someone with asthma and no a/c right now. Just the bike ride home gave me a mild sore throat.
Pika (aka barking mouse bunnies) make their home in the Columbia River Gorge. It’s one of the most beautiful parts of Oregon and Washington. And a huge stretch of it is currently on fire–because some fucking dipshit on a hike at Eagle Creek set off fireworks, despite the fact that we’ve had zero rain for like two fucking months.