Monday, September 24, 2012


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 Missoula.  The low valley was filled with smoke from another big fire in the 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.

The wind was so strong and fire so intense that it had jumped the river.

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.

There we discovered another fire, also lightning caused, was in our path.

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.


Alica said...

It seems like the wildfires this year were just after another!

Leauxra said...

Wildfires are always so sad. We had some big ones this year in Colorado... we're getting the smoke from the fires north and west now.

This year I am looking forward to a cold wet winter (fingers crossed).

Buttons Thoughts said...

Oh my goodness I had no idea it was this bad. Amazing scary shots. I am so glad you found a motel by a river I would not have been so calm I think.
Wow cannot wait to

Joanne Noragon said...

I've driven all through there, in milder times. I can see in my mind all you are describing. I hope it can end, although it hasn't yet.

Anonymous said...

All sorts of Biblical terms come to mind looking at those photos. Hope they get them under control soon.

CarrieBoo said...

It's like being on the run from all the fires (or the smoke), then. How frightening. I'm glad you were able to get on the move. Do you need me to set up the spare room?!!! Yikes, Leenie.

Terry and Linda said...

This is the year the world burned! How horribly sad and very awful!


Anairam said...

Fires are scary - I would prefer not to be on the road when they are near as one can get caught so easily. Glad you are safe though, and I hope you got to some clear, fresh air!

Linda Sue said...

Glad you made it through the hot stuff- your shot of the fire on the canyon wall is amazing! Fire jumping the river astonishing and powerful! Your timing for weather was perfect- the clouds have rolled in- the chill nestling in the bones already.

Sarah said...

It all sounds really scary! I wouldn't fancy having to hurry to avoid fires. You got some great shots though. I have heard of the Grand Coulee Dam in a Woody Guthrie song(I think!) but never seen a picture of it. My favourite picture is the one of the pylons fading into the distance.
Glad you got home safely!

laurak/ForestWalkArt :) said...

so very sad...AND scary.

it seems the whole world has been dealing with one tragedy after another lately. and here, in our country...between the fires and floods and drought...(oh my!!)

i DO hope they can get these fries under control...and YOU stay safe out there!

Far Side of Fifty said...

Scary travels..thanks for sharing the photos:(

Carla said...

So scary and sad. I'm glad you were able to get on the other side of them. It reminds me of a time when Eric and I were trying to outrun a blizzard going across Colorado--we kept going south, hoping we could finally go east to Missouri. The blizzard beat us and we ended up spending the night on the gym floor of a tiny high school.