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Thread: Wildfires and smoke

  1. #1
    Senior Member Gardenarian's Avatar
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    Wildfires and smoke

    My dogs woke me at 2am, barking in the backyard. I got out my flashlight and the smoke was so thick that the light could only penetrate about 10 feet.

    I'm in southern Oregon and we had a lightning storm that set off hundreds of wildfires nearby. The smoke wasn't bad when I went to bed, so I was really scared to see it so thick. I already had the windows closed, but I had the house fan running. I had to turn the fan off because the filter wasn't catching the smoke and the house is reeking.

    I called our local hotline and they said no fire danger, so, whew. Our air quality is currently Unhealthy, inching towards Very Unhealthy. Because there are so many different fires, it's hard to know where the smoke is coming from or how long it will last.

    Although we are not in imminent danger, I do have a Go Bag ready by the front door (food, dog food, journal, tablet, chargers, essential papers) and my car is stocked with water.

    I tried, but was unable to fall back asleep. Usually there are mountain views from our windows; today it's just gray. I get very antsy not being able to walk or bike or swim. My plan was to take the dogs and drive to the coast but my hip is hurting - no way I can drive the 3 hours, and there is no closer place to get out of this smoke. DH is gigging out of state, so I'm on my own.

    I need to get a better furnace filter, and I'll go to the gym to work off some of my jitters. I'll probably spend some time at the library, just to get out of the house. The dogs get crazy too; I'll have to strap on the smoke mask and walk them at some point.

    We had over a month of this last summer, and I'm feeling anxiety that I'll be trapped like that again.

    Thank you for listening. I think lack of sleep is making me feel particularly frantic and helpless in this situation.
    "All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us. -- Gandalf

  2. #2
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    We have the same issue in Nevada. A few summers ago we couldn’t walk the dogs for a month. I to get antsy without exercise so ran around inside the house to get my steps. The poor dogs really missed their walks. We are smoky today. Been here 21 years and the fires are getting worse.

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    Gardenarian,
    that's awful, especially that it's happened last year and not knowing how long the situation could last. Is there any way you could leave town for a few days or week? Seems like it would be a healthy thing to do despite any costs.

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    They just become a way of life just like tornadoes when I lived in Kansas and snow storms in Wisconsin.

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    We've got the Oregon smoke over here in Idaho too. The mountain valleys look awful. It's going to be a long time till October (when the smoke usually clears).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lainey View Post
    Gardenarian,
    that's awful, especially that it's happened last year and not knowing how long the situation could last. Is there any way you could leave town for a few days or week? Seems like it would be a healthy thing to do despite any costs.
    Getting away from smoke out in the west means going 4-500 miles away.... We are 400 miles east of the nearest fire and we're socked in with smoke.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Gardenarian's Avatar
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    Thank you! It's really great to hear from you guys. Feeling isolated
    No passers by, hardly any cars going by - just the sound of helicopters and the fire planes.

    The forecast is now for smoke to be moving up the coast, so that idea is out for now. If it looks like it's going to last, I'll get the tent out and head North. Eugene and Portland are ok, according to the air quality maps.

    I've only lived here a few years, but people say there didn't use to be a regular fire season here, just the past 5 years or so.

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    I don't think it's lack of sleep/exercise etc. that cause the anxiety. I think it's directly due to the smoke. Having breathed think forest fire smoke before, I absolutely believe thick smoke (more than just a scent of forest fire in the air or something) does a number one one's functioning including psychological. I've never been where I had to get 400-500 miles away to avoid it though, 40 usually sufficed. And my ability to breath and sanity returned. It's possible air filters might help, me I'd probably leave the area for the time being (I've taken off from work etc. but obviously this isn't always feasible, and it's never been for an entire month!).
    If you want something to get done, ask a busy person. If you want them to have a nervous breakdown that is.

  9. #9
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    the smoke has never affected me in any of those ways. It just kicks up my asthma. Yes probably the last 5 years since it became a regular thing. When I do leave the house I wear a mask and have learned to go out and about doing my usual things as long as that means inside somewhere. When I lived in KS tornado season was between April-Sept and I did a lot of running into the basement.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Gardenarian's Avatar
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    I think that's true ANM. It seems natural that a real threat to breathing would trigger the fight or flight response.

    We're at 208 (very unhealthy) now, no relief in sight - and another lightning storm predicted for Sunday.

    I'm not sure what I'm going to do. Even with a better air filter, the inside air is getting really bad.

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