Sunday, September 13, 2020

'We Have the Worst Air Quality in the World:' Most of Oregon is on Fire

Pandemic Diary
Day 181

Dear Diary,

Most of the state of Oregon is on fire. 

It's an unnerving experience and a wake-up call: Climate Change is no longer a future concern - it's our very real present.

We're at a Level 1 warning stage in Medford and the air quality is really hazardous. We're being told to stay indoors if possible. 

The same goes for most of the state (and up and down the West Coast) because we all have the dubious honor of the worst air quality in the world!

Just the thought makes my lungs ache and eyes water. 

Schools that struggled to open up for the Fall semester in the Rogue Valley during this age of COVID-19, are closed. 

Rumors of widespread looting amid the raging wildfires are carried with the same hot air as the QAnon lies about Antifi starting the fires throughout the state.

The firestorm that engulfed southern Oregon and Jackson County has been brutal. 

Fifty people remain unaccounted for in the aftermath of the Almeda and South Obenchain wildfires. I pity those who have to discover them, and the victim's families.

As of yesterday afternoon officials reported that the 3,200-acre Almeda Fire is 50 percent contained, and the 25,000-acre South Obenchain blaze is 20 percent contained.

People are confused. Scared. And mad. Emergency shelters are opening - then having to suddenly close - as the wildfires are shifting dangerously with the erratic winds.

The Riverside Fire is raging uncontained in Clackamas County and is moving northward along the Clackamas River corridor toward Estacada. Most of Clackamas Country residents are under Level 3 evacuation orders.

The Oregon State Fire Marshal is warning that two major fires straddling Clackamas and Marion counties are expected to merge. They may have already merged as of this writing. Basically, the whole damn state is still on fire.

Quote for the Day: "Every time I am out of the woods, I am back in the fire." -Robert Black

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