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Schroder
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PostThu May 02, 2019 3:31 pm 
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I hate to see another August like last one but that's what's forecast:
Forecast calls for busy wildfire season along West Coast
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awilsondc
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PostThu May 02, 2019 4:21 pm 
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Unfortunately that's the new normal, until some day when it isn't.  Doesn't look good for this year.
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Cyclopath
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PostThu May 02, 2019 4:22 pm 
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I've come to expect it.  Get all the hiking you want to do this year done by the end of July, or wait for the weather to start to turn in September.  August is forfeit.

I've invested in 5 HEPA air purifiers rated for 2.5x the capacity of my home.  Hope they help.
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fairweather friend
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PostThu May 02, 2019 5:52 pm 
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The worst thing about the "new normal" summer smoke is how pervasive it's become.  From CA well north into BC and east almost to the Rockies pretty much everywhere in the PNW and beyond gets smoked out in August.  You can be hundreds of miles away from the source and yet the prevailing winds can funnel it directly to you and blot out the sky. You can't even escape it on the coast, as the smoke just loops back around itself and inundates our marine areas.  I used to go sea kayaking on the west coast of Vancouver Island when the wildfires got going in the Cascades, but that doesn't seem to offer much respite anymore.

This winter, I went to a presentation by George Gronseth of the Kayak Academy about an annual sea kayak trip he leads near Sitka.  They usually plan this trip around mid August, I think, and his pics from 2018 showed perfectly clear, blue skies.  At the end of the show, I asked him if they had to deal with any wildfire smoke up there.  He said that the smoke was horrendous when they left Issaquah last year, but there was none in Sitka.  Maybe I need to expand my range...
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Bedivere
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PostThu May 02, 2019 6:30 pm 
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August used to be the best month for hiking around here.   Weather still consistently good but not as hot as July, not nearly as many thunderstorms as in July, mosquitos mostly gone by later in the month in most places, and the lakes all up to good temps for great fishing.

Now it's just smoke-fest.  Went to the Wind River Range last August to try to escape the smoke as the smoke maps were showing it coming and going there as that area was just on the edge of the blanket of smoky air covering pretty much everything everywhere West of there.  It was still smoky there, but not as bad as here.  Seemed like everyone had heard that area was in better shape as it was crowded and most of the people we talked with were from other areas - CA, OR, AZ, UT, and several parties from WA.

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FiresideChats
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PostThu May 02, 2019 9:21 pm 
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I read *somewhere* that a very wet early spring followed by a dry late spring allowed the underbrush to go nuts and then get extra dry. That made sense to me. Based on Snotel, it seems like at least the S WA Cascades may be in that boat.
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Cyclopath
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PostThu May 02, 2019 11:54 pm 
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Bedivere wrote:
August used to be the best month for hiking around here.  Weather still consistently good but not as hot as July, not nearly as many thunderstorms as in July, mosquitos mostly gone by later in the month in most places, and the lakes all up to good temps for great fishing.

Now it's just smoke-fest.

shakehead.gif   down.gif

The perseids.  I had a tradition of backpacking somewhere up above tree line in early to mid August to watch nature put on a show.  One year on Baker, they looked so close you might be able to touch them.

The days are still long enough for good hiking, too.

Now, it's a depressing zero month.  Time passes by and we get older, missing out on the best time to be in the mountains, getting itchy eyes and raspy throats.   bawl.gif

Again, air purifiers should help somewhat.  They won't let you see your surroundings on the trail, but that smoke can't be good to breathe.

down.gif
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timberghost
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PostFri May 03, 2019 5:48 am 
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Hope for the best prepare for the worst.
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treeswarper
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PostFri May 03, 2019 7:22 am 
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Good grief.  Live for the now.  That forecast has just as much of a chance of being wrong as right at this time.

And if it does get smoky?  I'm happy with it.  It'll maybe make more people move away from this part of the country.  Look on the bright side you worrywarts.  Eventually, the "wilderness' where fires are monitored until they explode and head out of the wilderness, will burn up.  Fire is another creature that doesn't follow boundaries.  Canada will eventually burn up too.

On my travels last week, I noticed that much of the state and private ground had undergone recent thinning and hand/machine piling.  That's a good thing.  Now if only the feds could do the same.

The other problem is that the IQ of area residents seems to have dropped.  We've got people around here burning brush on days with wind gusts.  They can't seem to read weather predictions for that day--which are much more accurate than the 3 month ones.  Our fire dept. siren has been going off frequently.  People have lost all common sense.

You can whine and moan and dread, but it won't make a difference.  I bought an air cleaner so it'll probably be a smoke free summer, or not.  Whatever.  If you can't take uncertainty, you are in a bit of trouble.

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altasnob
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PostFri May 03, 2019 7:48 am 
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Just because a busy wildfire season is expected does not necessarily mean Western Washington and the Cascade crest will be smokey in August, so long as we get our normal on shore flow. We had abnormal persistent off shore flow the last two Augusts.
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jinx'sboy
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PostFri May 03, 2019 9:33 am 
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altasnob wrote:
Just because a busy wildfire season is expected does not necessarily mean Western Washington and the Cascade crest will be smokey in August, so long as we get our normal on shore flow. We had abnormal persistent off shore flow the last two Augusts.

The fire season prediction, specific for August, shows the whole west coast of the US at highest risk.
https://www.predictiveservices.nifc.gov/outlooks/month4_outlook.png
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Sculpin
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PostFri May 03, 2019 10:08 am 
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altasnob wrote:
Just because a busy wildfire season is expected does not necessarily mean Western Washington and the Cascade crest will be smokey in August, so long as we get our normal on shore flow. We had abnormal persistent off shore flow the last two Augusts.

Well put!  Here is Cliff Mass' essay on exactly that topic:

https://cliffmass.blogspot.com/2018/09/what-kind-of-weather-pattern-produces.html

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BigBrunyon
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PostFri May 03, 2019 10:16 am 
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the best of the best are learnin' to adapt. you're seein' more buffs out on the dry hot trails these days, and tight wrap-around shades, hats pulled low.

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treeswarper
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PostFri May 03, 2019 2:30 pm 
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BigBrunyon wrote:
the best of the best are learnin' to adapt. you're seein' more buffs out on the dry hot trails these days, and tight wrap-around shades, hats pulled low.

Whilst working on broadcast burns (big slash burns in clearcuts) we would wear swimming goggles because "you could stay in the smoke a bit longer".

After one evening of pulling hose around on a bit too wild of a burn, it took a month to get the smoke smell out of my hair.  Washing did not work.

Hork up them black loogies!

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treeswarper
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PostFri May 03, 2019 2:36 pm 
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altasnob wrote:
Just because a busy wildfire season is expected does not necessarily mean Western Washington and the Cascade crest will be smokey in August, so long as we get our normal on shore flow. We had abnormal persistent off shore flow the last two Augusts.

It does not mean that a busy wildfire season will occur either.

The reason for all the hoopla is that it is May.  Fire season is set to begin contractually in May.  Federal contracts for work in the woods require contractors to have fire equipment on their worksite in May.  This is often waived due to wet weather.  It makes for good headlines right now and scares people.  That's about it.

Fire season is different from predicting a bad fire year.

Better get even more ascared.  Remember, the Big Earthquake might could occur.  There are meteorites out there that could hit us.  You have to drive in scary traffic.

Better stay home in bed.

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