Last night I sat down to watch the 11 p.m. Myrtle Beach local news. Leading the newscast off was a national story far away from the southeastern coast. WPDE Anchor Alex Heaton threw the newscast to a taped piece on the ravaging wildfires in Washington state. As I have mentioned before, if national coverage on the area I grew up in doesn’t have to do with our sports teams, it usually isn’t good news. Of course this again was the case.
I didn’t need the report from the Myrtle Beach station roughly 3,000 miles away from the state of Washington to bring me up to speed on the severity of the situation, however. I follow enough Pacific Northwest twitter accounts and read a couple of online versions of Washington newspapers to know that the wildfires have skyrocketed out of control. But neither social media nor the web has explained to me the carnage as adequately as another source.
Every time I have talked with my mom or other members of my immediate family over the past couple weeks all they can talk about at first is how smoky it is. Growing up in Washington state and then living in Montana I have experienced extremely smoky summers. However, my family tells me this year it is at a completely different level.
When the smoke is so bad you have to wear a mask you know you are living in a place that was rightfully declared in a state of emergency. Well, either that or you look at a map like the one below to see how prevalent this problem really is.
Living in a smoky area is a different type of feeling. It immediately puts you in a haze. Everything all of a sudden is viewed through a grayish-orange tint. Yes, everywhere you walk outside smells like a giant campfire but that gets old after a while. You quickly realize that the smell is not coming from a campfire where people are telling stories and roasting marshmallows. Rather, it sets in that the smell is the byproduct of destruction and danger.
People have lost their lives and countless houses have burned. My family couldn’t be safer but they do have to deal with the nasty air. I pray for milder temperatures, safety for the firefighters, and some heavy rain. I know we live in a world with greater tragedies than this but it wouldn’t hurt to take a second and think about the state of Washington. Don’t Blink.