I blame Canada

In addition to being hot and humid (but less so than it was yesterday), the whole of Morris is hazy and smells of burning wood. Canada is on fire! Also, Oregon, Washington, California, Montana, and Idaho. Minnesota, at least, is not on fire, we’re just downwind from the conflagration. I woke up this morning wondering if the house was on fire, but no, stepping outside was enough to show me that this is a shared misery.

So how are all you Westerners holding up? I half-expect to see screaming citizens wreathed in flames to come staggering across the Dakota border.


  1. anthrosciguy says

    Oddly, here along I5 in Oregon this year, the air is okay despite the fires being not that far off. We’ve been lucky here that the winds have been blowing all this smoke eastward. Really bad luck for everyone to the east.

  2. robro says

    So how are all you Westerners holding up?

    Fortunately for us in Marin county California, we’re not having anything like the bad air we had last summer…so far. In fact, according to AirNow Fire and Smoke Map, our air quality is better than Minnesota’s. Last year there was a fire on Point Reyes, directly upwind of us, and with all the other larger fires around the state and the swirling wind patterns it was dangerously miserable here.

    This could change at any moment, of course. We are surrounded by open space with lots of grasses, brush and trees that are looking dry and desiccated, just waiting to burn. On lightening storm and poof!

  3. whheydt says

    I’ll second robro’s comment. In Vallejo, so far there hasn’t been a smoke problem this year, unlike some past years.

  4. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Last week I smelled what I thought was burning leaves. Checked the news. While the jet stream was blowing the western US wild fire smoke via southern Canada to the US east coast, there was a side draft that came south toward Chicago right into my area. That could explain the smell.

  5. bodach says

    No smoke here in Western Washington, but I’m reminded that there are still FIRES! Should have swept the forests last year,
    I look out my window and see all the beautiful trees and can only imagine the smoking ruins of my home. My heart goes out to everyone who has lost theirs.

  6. blf says

    Alaska tried to help yesterday, with a magnitude 8.2 earthquake off the coast. However, no tsunami was generated, so there won’t be any incoming seawater to help control the fires.

  7. StonedRanger says

    Oregon is not on fire nearly to the extent it was this time last year. There is one huge fire on the OR/CAL border and some smaller fires scattered about, but compared to last summer, there is no comparison. In Portland last year there was at least a week where you could barely see the houses across the street when the wind started coming from the south, it was horrible. I was out and about and could see smoky haze near the cascades and near the mouth of the gorge, but air is still pretty good. Its just going to be in the high 90’s and maybe 100 tomorrow. Stay cool and hydrated folks.

  8. Tenax Raccoon says

    We’ve had periods of choking smoke in the Salt Lake area, although the winds have been a bit kinder to us this year compared to last year, I think. On smokey days, the worst part is that the foggy particulates extend high into the atmosphere, so you can’t escape it even by going into the Wasatch or Oquirrh (pronounced: oh-ker) mountains.

    It’s been weird seeing a new type of weather on my weather app that started last year: “smoke”

    We’re in a natural bowl surrounded by mountains, so we’re accustomed to accumulating pollution during inversions. The summer smoke fog are terrible on the lungs and vulnerable people, although we haven’t had the devastation that’s been inflicted upon the people in Oregon, Washington, and California.

  9. weylguy says

    My older son lives in Bellevue, Washington State, and several years ago he could not leave his house because the air quality was so bad due to fires in British Columbia.

    Yes, I do blame Canada. It has all the trees, water and unspoiled natural areas (not to mention neat dinosaur fossil beds), and I think it’s high time we invade and annex it. It’s just so damned unfair.

  10. Rich Woods says

    What is this ‘fire’ thing of which you speak? I’m in the middle of battening down the hatches ready for the overnight onslaught of Storm Evert.

  11. springa73 says

    Even here in Massachusetts on the east coast, we’ve had several days that were distinctly hazy with a reddish-orange sunshine due to the fires almost 3000 miles to the west.

  12. aelfric says

    I moved to Alberta from the States a while back, and while I love the scenery here, it is currently obscured by apocalyptic smoke….

  13. LorrieAnne M says

    I’m in Southern Oregon and our skies are relatively clear. This summer has not been nearly as bad as feared (yet, anyway) as all our smoke is blowing your way!

  14. Kevin Karplus says

    In Santa Cruz, the air has been good so far this year, and we haven’t had any big fires (yet). We’re all hoping that last year’s burning of 1000 homes and 86000 acres was a one-time event, but we aren’t really at the start of the normal fire season yet. The ongoing drought is concerning everyone, as Santa Cruz County usually has summer fog to keep the trees from getting too dry, and we’ve not been getting much this year.

  15. microraptor says

    There’s a smattering of fires burning east of me right now in Oregon. Bit of haze in the air- was really bad last night.

    Fortunately, the high heat we were forecast for today has yet to materialize and instead we’ve got some clouds (not smoke) that are keeping things pleasant.

  16. wajim says

    Here is eastern WA along the Snake River we have smoke, and a heat dome, both from local fires surrounding us and several larger fires in OR and central WA. Wake up every morning feeling like I sucked on a penny all night, even with the house buttoned up. Sinuses annoyed, occasional coughing fits. Cats constantly fighting. Other than that, and while our local Health Dept. just reported the Covid Delta variant has arrived in our town, and now that we’re fully vaxed, have to mask up again for our lives . . . wait, wasn’t I talking about all the smoke?

  17. Ed Seedhouse says

    British Columbia is indeed burning. But B.C. is a big place and while the West coast is very dry, there have been no large fires on most of it, including Vancouver Island where I live. And the winds have largely favoured us. We’ve had high pressure out to sea, and low pressure on land so the air is flowing eastward and we are virtually free of smoke here. We’re sorry you are getting so much of it, really we only meant to smoke Alberta and you are merely collateral damage.

    We now have high pressure building on shore and low pressure coming at us from the sea so we may be about to get our comeuppance. It’s hot here, too, but only the high twenties, not the high 30’s which laid us low earlier in the year. So we may live through it.

  18. blf says

    we only meant to smoke Alberta

    Smoked Alberta… Is that the Canadian version of Baked Alaska?

  19. birgerjohansson says

    Let me ask more knowledgeable people here about forest fire harm reduction.
    -Would it be possible to plant cacti and succulents in wide bands perpendicular to the usual summer wind direction to make it hard for firestorms to cross?
    Firestorms form their own microweather with winds bringing embers far and wide, and plants that are dry inside will soon succumb to the heat and contribute to the fire.

  20. jrkrideau says

    Not to alarm you but I would not worry so much about B.C, Northern Ontario is likely tho source of the smoke.

    We have benn pulling in help from other provinces and internationally

    There are currently two specialists and five CL415’s from Quebec, 101 firefighters and staff from Mexico, two firefighters from Prince Edward Island, 12 personnel from Nova Scotia, 18 personnel from New Brunswick, one specialist from the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre, 28 staff from Alberta, 20 personnel from Australia as well as 15 personnel and two CL415’s from Newfoundland assisting the province of Ontario.

    Forest Fires Ontario

    Oh and I believe Ontario is sending a few staff to help Manitoba.

  21. anbheal says

    This comment will not be populat, but I used to play some ball, and I have a big 34 Louisville Slugger. I keep it by the door, for night-time walks with my dog. Cuz there are wildcats and bears out there, escaping the pincers of the Nebraska Badlands and Rockies wildfires. The bears are breezily unconcerned with us, they just crawl into the next dumpster. And that’s good, cuz they’re faster than Hussein Bolt, and can climb trees, so if they want you, they’ve got you. But the cougars, man alive, they just walk straight at you, with that sexy walk, and a while back there was one with a French bulldo (I’m almost certain in its jaw).

    My dog has heard me hiss “S…T…F….U….” so many times that now, when she sees a puma or bear, she looks at me, as if to ask, yo boss, can I bark, or at least growl? And she always gets the same reply: “shut, the, f***, up.” I have no difficulty whatsoever granting the wildlife their meals. And if it’s Tiffany Lee’s dachsund, well, the circle of life. But it’s freakin’ intimidating, rounding the corner from the liquor store, into a cougar or black bear. Oh, and don’t let anybody tell yea that black bears are vegetarians, they’re as vegetarian as a sewer rat.

    But the Rockies are mubbafubbin’ hot, man. It’s been 85 – 105 since Memorial Day. I see highway crews working on tarmac that has gotta be 130, and I go buy them sixpacks of cold ginger ale at the market. Telling Maille to shit the f*ck up as we navigate around the bear and wildcats.

  22. VolcanoMan says

    Yeah, pretty smoky here in Winnipeg (we’ve had maybe 9 or 10 days of fairly bad smoke pollution so far this summer). Makes walking the dog in the evenings less pleasant (although the sunsets are gorgeous). And as jrkrideau mentioned, it’s likely fires from northwestern Ontario, and also from central and northern Manitoba that are the source of the smoke in Morris right now. Both provinces have a tonne of fires, and the wind conditions are such that the smoke is ending up further south, including across the border. And I don’t think it’s going to get much better for awhile; not unless we get some goddamned rain, that is. I do find that those surgical masks everyone’s wearing for Covid help cut down the particulates…not by a lot, but it’s better than nothing.

  23. magistramarla says

    I keep getting this question from friends and family in other states!
    The air is clear here in Monterey. It’s not as hot here as it was the last two summers, and I’ve seen more of the marine layer coming in off of the bay over this last month. However, it does seem that August and September will be getting a bit warmer.
    I was awake and watching the light show last August 16 when dry lightening sparked a fire in the higher elevations near Monterey.
    We had layers of ash over everything on our patio and the air quality was really bad.
    Just hoping that we don;t have a repeat.