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AlpineRose
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PostMon Aug 13, 2018 9:22 pm 
I'm struggling to come to terms with this new summer norm of hazardous air pollution (4 out of the last 5 summers). It seems to be a fact of life now. I just ordered an air purifier today, but other than that, I feel at a loss as to what to do. Maybe buy another air purifier, one for upstairs, one for downstairs. My lungs didn't quite recover from last year and now here we go again - in Western Wa, where it just got "hazardous" today. So what do you do when the air gets bad? What do you do when the air gets bad and stays bad for weeks on end, as it does in Central and Eastern Washington? I'd especially like to hear from folks that live there. Chelan has been "very hazardous" for many days now. Do you ignore the air quality and go on as usual? Wear a N95 mask when you exercise? Wear one 24x7? Stay with relatives in Iowa for the summer? Run the AC, if you're fortunate enough to have it, on recirculate? What?

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Alpine Pedestrian
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PostMon Aug 13, 2018 10:06 pm 
AlpineRose wrote:
Stay with relatives in Iowa
This. Only in my case I stay with my kids in western Oregon in their air-conditioned houses. It's a symbiotic setup, because I cook and babysit. Just got back last week, and with the deteriorating air, it may be time to go back.

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gb
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PostTue Aug 14, 2018 7:35 am 
AlpineRose wrote:
I'm struggling to come to terms with this new summer norm of hazardous air pollution (4 out of the last 5 summers). It seems to be a fact of life now. I just ordered an air purifier today, but other than that, I feel at a loss as to what to do. Maybe buy another air purifier, one for upstairs, one for downstairs. My lungs didn't quite recover from last year and now here we go again - in Western Wa, where it just got "hazardous" today. So what do you do when the air gets bad? What do you do when the air gets bad and stays bad for weeks on end, as it does in Central and Eastern Washington? I'd especially like to hear from folks that live there. Chelan has been "very hazardous" for many days now. Do you ignore the air quality and go on as usual? Wear a N95 mask when you exercise? Wear one 24x7? Stay with relatives in Iowa for the summer? Run the AC, if you're fortunate enough to have it, on recirculate? What?
I don't. I am in lockdown mode. Everything shuttered and closed. I hiked yesterday and barely pulled it off, finding a location that had the least amount of smoke in Washington for that time period. After getting back to the car visibility was at best 2-3 miles. And heat sucks anyway. Out quickly for groceries - cooking nothing. Talk about the "cost" of global warming - I hope the smoke makes it to Mara Lago or whatever it is. It will certainly make it to a lot of conservative states in the Midwest. https://rapidrefresh.noaa.gov/hrrr/HRRRsmoke/displayMapLocalDiskDateDomainZipTZA.cgi?keys=hrrr_smoke:&runtime=2018081412&plot_type=trc1_int&fcst=25&time_inc=60&num_times=37&model=hrrr&ptitle=HRRR-Smoke%20Model%20Fields%20-%20Experimental&maxFcstLen=36&fcstStrLen=-1&domain=full&adtfn=1

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natural_log
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PostTue Aug 14, 2018 8:26 am 
A buddy in the Methow said that he's spent more time outside in the winter when it's 20 degrees than on these smokey days. When it's gross in Portland (like this morning), I favor the bus over huffing and puffing on the hills via bike.

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DigitalJanitor
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PostTue Aug 14, 2018 10:05 am 
Went to the gym yesterday. Not much else for it.

~Mom jeans on wheels
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RichP
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PostTue Aug 14, 2018 11:24 am 
I've cut down on summer hiking and physical activity in general. It seems like the new normal for sure. I'm looking at a move to Idaho at some point but smoky summers are not sounding like too much fun. frown.gif

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Cyclopath
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PostTue Aug 14, 2018 1:23 pm 
Iíve been meaning to start a very similar thread. Is the smoke rattling everyone elseís cage, too? One of the reasons I hike is for the views. I grew up in a place that wasnít this beautiful, and Iím always agog at the scenery. But the views are gone. I donít want to go ride my bike, or run, because the air is dangerous to breathe. Even just being here makes me a little anxious about health effects, including for my family and pets. You canít see any of the mountains from downtown. Right now, anything 100 yards out is brownish gray, the sky looks dull and lifeless. A house Iíve been looking at in Twisp is in the evacuation zone, and anyway the air is even worse there. Iíve spent half a lifetime finding what and where make me most happy, and everything changed. Many of my coworkers donít hike, a lot of them donít exercise outside at all. And this doesnít really bother them so much.

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Cyclopath
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PostTue Aug 14, 2018 1:25 pm 
natural_log wrote:
A buddy in the Methow said that he's spent more time outside in the winter when it's 20 degrees than on these smokey days. When it's gross in Portland (like this morning), I favor the bus over huffing and puffing on the hills via bike.
I love the Methow. Skied from Mazama to Winthrop in February. I'd love to be there right now but can't take the smoke. I'm really looking forward to skiing again, not just because skiing is fun, but because I can be outside and feel good about the fresh air. So I can relate to your friend.

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Bedivere
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PostTue Aug 14, 2018 9:15 pm 
Young people, in their early 20s see this as normal. They have no real frame of reference as to what things were like in previous decades. I grew up here. It's breaking my heart. August used to be my favorite month to hike. Me & my buddies have gone almost every year since 1992, with an exception here and there, on a week long hike in the Cascades in mid-August. I doubt we'll be doing that any more.

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Chief Joseph
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PostTue Aug 14, 2018 9:31 pm 
RichP wrote:
I've cut down on summer hiking and physical activity in general. It seems like the new normal for sure. I'm looking at a move to Idaho at some point but smoky summers are not sounding like too much fun. frown.gif
Very smoky with several fires burning here around Priest Lake. I went fishing for a few hours yesterday and went on a 3 hour motorcycle ride today, have had a mild headache and some congestion, but nothing too bad. This "new normal" really sucks! down.gif

Go placidly amid the noise and waste, and remember what comfort there may be in owning a piece thereof.
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gb
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PostWed Aug 15, 2018 6:25 am 
Bedivere wrote:
Young people, in their early 20s see this as normal. They have no real frame of reference as to what things were like in previous decades. I grew up here. It's breaking my heart. August used to be my favorite month to hike. Me & my buddies have gone almost every year since 1992, with an exception here and there, on a week long hike in the Cascades in mid-August. I doubt we'll be doing that any more.
Boy, that echoes my sentiments, too. These changes for me first showed up in 1986 when I was first sure that the glaciers were, in fact shrinking. By the 1990's it was greatly changed. Spring of 1992 was the best ever for spring skiing because it just plain stopped snowing in March. It hadn't done that before. It was somewhat more normal after the mid 90's, but then came 2000 and except for a couple of years here and there things really started to change. You would get entire months in the winter when it wouldn't snow - in the Cascades! - and, of course, summers that used to start in mid-July now may start in May without any summer rains and much more frequent periods of hot weather. I didn't like to see the glaciers shrinking but the fires are the worst. The first really bad fire year I recall was 1994 with the Leavenworth fire. But most years were still good in the summer maybe with some haze at times but prolonged smoke and losing these wonderful areas year after year is traumatic. Super depressing. All you have is memories of great places. And, I agree mid-August to September was the best of the best. The problem is so regional there really is no place to go. You have to go north of Prince George to get beyond the fires and smoke and some years that doesn't even work. A friend I hiked with day before yesterday just came back from the Wrangell Mountains. After ten days of continuous heavy rains he finally washed out and returned home two weeks early. That is where the rains are and appear to be staying.

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jinx'sboy
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PostWed Aug 15, 2018 6:42 am 
It is interesting to think about what really is the ďnew normal.Ē I was talking about our smoky summers with a woman who is a Methow native. She is probably in her early 50s, now. She said her grandmother, who was born in the Methow in 1900, had told her years ago that when she had been a teenager and young woman in the Methow ďwe never had blue skies, it was smoky all summer, every summerĒ. This does square pretty well with fire history; there were some big fire years in the 1910s and 1920s. And, of course, this was mostly before the era of big time fire suppression.

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DigitalJanitor
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PostWed Aug 15, 2018 7:33 am 
Bedivere wrote:
I grew up here. It's breaking my heart. August used to be my favorite month to hike.
We were just saying to one another last night, "remember when August was great"? shakehead.gif I keep hoping that land managers start doing more controlled burning and eventually get a handle on the massive pile of fuel in the back country.... that would cause some short term grief but IMO significant long term gain. But who knows if that will/would be enough. I did comment on a FS plan for the Taneum that they'd better get crackin' with the proposal to thin and/or burn before ma nature got to it, and I'm saying that as a person likely to be choking on the smoke for weeks at my house and locked out of one of my favorite recreation areas for a season or more.

~Mom jeans on wheels
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iron
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PostWed Aug 15, 2018 1:00 pm 
not sure i'm coping. definitely stresses me out to have my 2 year old daughter living in it (2 worst years on record). windows closed. air purifiers on. a/c. for me, nothing changes - still bike to work, go outside, etc. but, i definitely feel the sadness gb and others have shared. paradise, ruined.

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Ski
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PostWed Aug 15, 2018 2:00 pm 
Smoky Seattle summers: Expect more of them, scientists say / Seattle Times 08/14/18 Probably not a lot there that most people here don't know already (or should.) The article does make the point I've mentioned here several times, which is that we can look forward to more fires, more frequent fires, and more destructive fires at least for the next few decades, if not longer. Reader comments, as always, are the usual mish-mash of misinformed malcontents who can't help attempting to inject some political jab into the mix. The thing that I find odd is the way people react to all of this, as though it were something anomalous. When I was a kid I remember seeing a band of smoke most of the summer on the western horizon from all the slash fires burning on the Olympic Peninsula. Because of complaints about the smoke, they put a stop to that practice, which is partly a factor in the build-up of the fuel loads on the ground in Western Washington. People apparently don't realize that the sizes of some of these fires are actually quite small compared to historical (and pre-historical) events: S. W. WASHINGTON'S LEGENDARY "BIG FIRE" / Seattle Times Oct. 28, 1951 Remember it could be worse: when the Yacolt fire burned, people in the community of Evergreen, Washington thought it was Armageddon:
Rowena L. and Gordon D. Alcorn wrote:
September 12, 1902, was a day those pioneers of both settlements would never forget. The sun rose as usual in the southwestern part of Washington. About 7:30 a.m. it gradually became darker and darker, until by noon lanterns were needed. ( The center of this phenomenon seemed to be at Tenino. ) People on the Queets were frightened, and many of them believed the world must be coming to an end. Mrs. Streater recalled that several neighboring families gathered at the Donaldson homestead that "Dark Day." Since no smoke was detected in the air, they had no way of knowing that a cloud of ash from great forest fires in Clark County, Washington, and in Oregon was obscuring the sun. from Evergreen on the Queets

"I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach. I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each."
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