Friday, August 24, 2012


Idaho is known for snow-capped mountains, wide open places, clean water and fresh air.

On most summer evenings a sunset from the hill above our town looks like this:

A view across the valley toward a landmark extinct volcano.

Yesterday evening the same view looked like this.
 Smoke has settled into the valleys and really messed up the visibility .

(news photo of fires in central Idaho)
August 22, 2012--Salmon/Challis National Forest, Idaho (KMVT-TV)
The fires continue to burn in central Idaho today.  The Halstead fire near
Stanley has burned 96,235 acres and remains at 5% contained.  Meanwhile
the Mustang complex fire near Salmon has burned 99,450 as of
this time and is 9% contained, according to officials at the scene.
Both fires were lightning caused.

According to the local news, “Air quality in Idaho right now is the worst in a generation in many places, and we’re not even speaking of places immediate to the fires.”

There are fires on both sides of us in central Idaho and western Montana.

“Due to the lack of moisture throughout the park in the last several days, the fire danger level in Yellowstone has been elevated to Extreme.”

 The smoke has produced some spectacular sunsets.

Sometimes the air is so murky the sun looks like a magenta hole in the sky.

Another factor is probably field burning after the harvest of grain crops. Farmers usually burn their wheat stubble as an inexpensive way to help control volunteer plants, weeds and disease.  Permits are required for burning and it's been banned in some locations.  But, just like in many areas of conflict, the wheels of change turn slow.

BOISE – Possible changes to Idaho’s field-burning regulations still are up in the air after an advisory panel of farmers, health advocates and regulators agreed that some weekend burning could be considered, but they couldn’t reach a consensus on whether to allow more burning when ozone pollution levels are high.

 All I know is the air is toxic.  I have Christmas colored eyes—green outlined in red.  My sinuses and throat feel like they’ve been rubbed with salty sand. A little breeze and some soaking rain would really be nice.


Buttons Thoughts said...

Oh I am so sorry you have to breathe this and extremely sorry for those who are impacted by these darn fires.
Burning fields oh we do not allow that here I think that is kind of scary.
Your photos make a very scary situation beautiful as far as sun shots go.
Hope you have clean air, rain and breeze soon.
Take care B

Alica said...

That sunset is truly spectacular. But I'm sorry it's at the expense of so many acres burned, and the poor air quality! I wish for you a dousing rain and a cool breeze, soon!

Linda Sue said...

It will only get worse...said the realist/pessimist/elderly curmudgeon.
Can you even imagine what this area will look like when the rain ceases and the dry earth claims the forests???Yikes- it will be toasty!

Flea said...

Omigoodness. How horrific. We had small scale fires here, but are now getting rain. Hopefully our rain will make it to Idaho quickly.

susan m hinckley said...

Oh wow -- I knew Utah had been bad, but I didn't even think about Idaho. It looks much worse! Wishing you some fresh air, and definitely some RAIN.

Joanne Noragon said...

I watch news of the burning woods every night and think of you. May it end soon.

Sarah said...

That sounds awful Leenie. I hope the situation is resolved soon, though that doesn't sound that likely. The sunsets are spectacular though-the small upside! I remember stubble being burnt in the field across from my house when I was a child. I am ot sure if it is banned here now, but I haven't seen it for years.

Terry and Linda said...

I'm so sorry for all of you in Idaho and for the loss of all the trees, animals, and homes. Fires have been horrible this year.

Prayers for rain and for snow this winter. LOTS of much as I dread it I dread a winter without any snow worse.


Brian King said...

I know you could do without the fires, but the photos are beautiful. I love the third shot!

Elizabeth said...

This is so awful!
My heart goes out to you all.
Do hope you get lots of rain for relief very soon.

laurak/ForestWalkArt :) said...

beautiful sunset pictures...but it's so unfortunate that the fires continue to burn.
we have had enough disaster in this country this year!
i'm hoping this all ends soon...and you have a good air cleaning rain!

Anzu said...

I pray for you to be far from the troubles and feel a lot better.

Far Side of Fifty said...

I hope the fires burn out soon..soaking rain for days would be good. It is dry here too..Fires will start soon if we don't get rain..everything is drying out..what a strange summer. Your sunset photo is beautiful:).

Elizabeth Rose Stanton said...

It's such a shame that what makes such beautiful sunsets is so noxious. I hope it all passes...soon!

CarrieBoo said...

That sounds harsh, Leenie. It's hard to imagine all the fires from up here in my boring part of Ontario. Seems such beauty comes at a price.

Hope your Christmas eyes clear up before Christmas!