Our unusually warm winter left little snow in the mountains. When the storm clouds came in the summer they were empty of water and full of lightning. Soon wild fires were burning all around us in
Eastern Idaho and we
were downwind from the worst of them.
Smoke filled the air for weeks.
DH and I decided to take a little trip to the coast to get upwind of the
hazardous conditions and go where the humidity was above crispy.
We packed up our Subaru and traveled north to
Montana with the Pacific Northwest circled on our map.
There was no getting away from the noxious air in
. The low valley was filled with smoke from
another big fire in the Missoula Salmon River area.
When we arrived in the Palouse Country of Eastern Washington we were met with blowing dust and more smoke.
The nearer we came to the
Columbia River and Grand Coulee
Dam the thicker the smoke. What we
didn’t know was a storm front had passed through during the night and the
lightning had started several wild fires in central . Washington
The hills above Grand Coulee Dam had already been torched by another big fire only a few days earlier.
We crossed the river on our way to the
Cascade Mountains and
were met by this.
A police blockade was set up to stop traffic from driving into the inferno. We learned the fire was heading north but if we hurried we could probably get around it before roads were closed in that direction.
As we drove up the river we could see smoke and flames along the canyon walls.
We were driving parallel to the smoke and were finally able to drive around it and on to the highway that took us up into the mountains.
Worried we would be turned back at any time we proceeded toward the place where we had reservations for the night on the east side of the Cascades.
Needless to say we were glad to get west and north of all the wildfires and settled into a new motel overlooking a quiet stream. Although it was of little comfort to watch a television news reporter standing where we had been only hours before telling us about the devastation.