Fears of climate change
Sara Boilen, Whitefish, Mont.: “The postman is wearing a respirator. The children are inside for recess. The sun is pink and the moon, orange. We have a list on our fridge titled ‘In case of evacuation.’ And I, for one, am cursing my neighbors in Trump Country for electing a man who can still, somehow, deny the existence of the very human-caused phenomenon exacerbating this naturally occurring cycle.”
Kelly Morice Banister, Portland, Ore.: “We are watching our beloved Columbia River Gorge be torched by the carelessness of some teenagers with fireworks. We are heartbroken, outraged…. And above all at this time, I am infuriated by anyone denying climate change, as we are living in a tinder box becoming an inferno and the South is flooded and shredded by hurricanes.”
A loss for the entire country
Mike Maas, Helena, Mont.: “I wish the rest of the nation would realize that most of the acreage in Montana that has burned belongs to them; our fires are primarily on National Forest lands and the loss of Sperry Chalet in Glacier is truly devastating.”
Hana Jacover, Ore.: “We’re upset that mainstream media hasn’t touched this story until now. We’re upset that mainstream media won’t address these (applicable) natural disasters in relation to climate change. Our states are burning up, our beautiful backyard ‘playgrounds’ are disappearing. Our firefighters are exhausted. Our wildlife is displaced and stressed. Our air quality is actually hazardous in many areas.”
“Ash falls like snowflakes from the sky”
Amber Conger, Helena, Mont.: “There is no escape. The entire state is burning. The sun glows red. The air is polluted with thick smoke and ash falls like snowflakes from the sky. Lives have been lost by brave firefighters and livelihoods are under threat. But, the encouraging thing to see is Montanans coming together to help each other, because that’s the Montana way.”
Teresa Dofredo, Washington State: “Ash raining down on cars like a light snow, days looking dark and gloomy when in reality it is a bright sunny day. Can look directly at the sun because it is just a red orb in the sky. Never since moving to Washington State in 1983 have I seen the air quality like it has been this summer and yet we have had no rain for months.”
Terry Porta Klieber, Portland, Ore.: “The beauty of the Columbia River Gorge is something that must be seen to be appreciated. Multnomah Falls will take your breath away. Our brave firefighters are doing their best. We here in Oregon are heartbroken. Portland has been covered in a smoky haze, ash is falling from the sky, and your eyes burn just going outside. Or maybe those tears are for the utter destruction of such beauty.”
Kim Chambon Jones: “The smoke is so bad here in Sandpoint, Idaho. Even though we don’t have fires, we are being suffocated by smoke because we are surrounded by them.”
“Firefighters are heroes”
Gail Nigh Lee, Glencoe, Calif.: “Two years ago, Sept. 9, 2015, the Butte fire took out most of Calaveras County, 72,000 acres. We are still in recovery. Areas burned so hot and deeply that nothing will grow there for a long, long time. And today fires rage around the area once again bringing smoke and fear. Yosemite burns and the smoke drifts. Daily people post... is there a new fire nearby? And have to be reassured that all this smoke is drift smoke from all the other fires. My heart goes out to every single victim. The firefighters are heroes.
“The recovery is a long process, filled with tears, frustration and disbelief.”
Animals are suffering, as well
Angela Lowman, Beaverton, Ore.: “I have a pet-sitting business and have to restrict the dogs’ access to outside to minimize their inhalation of the falling ash particles. I’ve been wearing a mask because I have to be outside so much. Another pet sitter lost business when a client of hers had to cancel a vacation to go work on the fires. Over 500 livestock animals near the Gorge had to be evacuated. The interstate and railroads near the fire are closed so that’s slowing down transportation and businesses.”
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