Still smoky -- Mt Tabor a ghostly silhouette, and the West Hills simply not there. The sun a baleful red disk, when she shows at all: I think there's a thin overcast above the smoke. But the air doesn't stink so much, now, and the feeling now is less apocalyptic than resigned. Triste.
A new sprinkling of ash on the car, which swirls as I open the door; absurdly, I try to shoo the ash back out as I get in.
The temperate rain forests burn, from time to time. The scars of the Tillamook burn, out in the Coast Range, are still plain to see, and that was in 1933. So global warming does not necessarily have much to do with it. This was the driest summer I have ever known, in the maritime Northwest, and I suspect climate change, but I can't convict it. But in any case the weather has changed: the cloud-shapes are different. The state I grew up in has vanished.
What happens now depends on the weather. September is often -- was often -- a pretty dry month. A couple good soaks would stop the fires now and probably leave some of the beautiful places more or less intact, or in shape to recover in a few years. But if it stays dry, and the wind chases the fire back and forth, up and down the gorge, for weeks, that's a different story. So we won't know for a while. I dread the time when we finally go up to have a look, whether it's two weeks or two months from now.
The Oregonian is already posting sad stories about how much people will miss the Gorge, which does not land well with me. We don't know yet how much we've lost, or how much we'll miss it. And in any case, I've got plenty of time: I'll be sad for the rest of my life. I'm in no particular hurry to start.