01 October 2012

Smoked Out

We've had gorgeous summer weather all September which has unfortunately been counter-acted by smoke.

On September 5, a wildfire started in White Salmon. Just three days later while the crews were getting the White Salmon fire under control, lightning sparked a fire on Mt. Adams (and 200+ other places in Washington). Dubbed the Cascade Creek fire, it has grown to 16,000 acres and is still burning.

The day before the Cascade Creek fire started, we spent a lovely Saturday at Takhlakh Lake on the northwest side of Mt Adams. Unbeknownst to us at the time, we watched the culprit lightning storm move across Adams that evening. Corinne decided to see if she could catch a photo of some of the lightning.

So beautiful and yet so destructive

The first few days of the Mt Adams fire was pretty interesting to us. We can see the columns of smoke from our house and yet were still far enough away - ~10 miles or so - to not be terribly concerned about the fire reaching us. Corinne was able to play with her new intervalometer to construct a time lapse from photos taken at two minute intervals. The night sky gets brighter at one point when we changed the exposure.

When the fires are active, the glow is pretty easy to see at night. You can also see a shooting star in the upper right, and two satellites on the left-hand side. (The line of light on the very bottom is a car headlight.)

The smoke has been settling in the valley almost EVERY morning. The incident response crew that is coordinating the fire has installed a smoke sensor in Trout Lake, with the data published online. According to the fire officials, a concentration reading above 300 (ug/m3) is considered very unhealthy. For short periods on most mornings, the levels in Trout Lake spike to near 800.

Ordinarily, we would have our windows open and spend all of our spare time outdoors this time of year. But this fire has us cooped up avoiding the smoke. One day last weekend the air was relatively clear, so we took a chance that night and left the window above our bed open. Bad idea. We spent the following day with irritated eyes and sinuses.

And then last week, another fire started near Hood River. Fortunately, that one didn't last long.

We've never been so ready for rain.

- Mike, Corinne and Anders

Quotes From Anders

Everyone knows that kids say the darndest things. (There have been several television shows to prove it.) Thankfully, Anders is no different. Here are a few gems from this fall.

While playing with his toy horses:

Like helicopters, horses can be tricky.

Well, I can't argue with that.

While riding on the see-saw at Guler Park in Trout Lake:
I want to shoot a watermelon off of this see-saw.

Oh yeah, now we're talking.

While in the kitchen eating a bowl of blueberries:
Woah - look at this huge blueberry.
[Eats it]
It was 70 degrees big.

Units make all the difference, don't they?

Conversation with a friend:
Ashland: What are hot dogs made of anyway?
Anders: Lots of long cylinders.

Keep 'em coming, Anders. This will make great material for your wedding someday.

- Mike, Corinne and Anders