Skip navigation

Tag Archives: wildfire

Our valley has been inundated with wildfire smoke off and on for over forty days. This week is particularly bad with an inversion trapping all of the smoke and holding it down throughout the day and night with no relief. A person, or a dog I suppose, should be wearing a mask whenever she ventures out in it. Otherwise, she ought to just stay inside and be grateful for air conditioning and a tightly built house.

Dogs don’t understand this and they want/need a walk each day. Here are a few images from this morning’s walk.

Wildfires in British Columbia and a 10,000 acre fire in the Pasayten Wilderness have left much of Washington blanketed in a thick layer of smoke. Air quality in Twisp and Winthrop was the worst in the nation in recent days. People are warned to stay inside with windows and doors closed and not everyone has air conditioning. Temperatures have been in the high 90’s. It is strongly suggested that a person should wear a mask when outside and strenuous activity is being discouraged. Needless to say in our area with a strong emphasis on outdoor recreation, this is a great hardship. I ventured out with the dogs for a couple of hours yesterday and it was painful. ‘They’ say a weather system should be here in a few days, perhaps with wind and rain but most likely with lightning too, and that some of this smoke may be dispersed. It’s hard to hope for lightning but I do want a break from this thick air pollution.

This ponderosa pine tree was severely burned in the Carlton Complex wildfire in 2014 and it is still alive and even vigorous. It has the remains of a metal notice indicating that it was an official bearing tree, marking an old survey line. I wonder if anyone even uses these bearing trees anymore since many people have some form of a GPS in their pockets?

Trees are amazing.

I went birding with a friend last week, visiting an area not far from here but new to both of us. We had a pretty good birding day, seeing more than seventy species! One of the first birds we observed was a Lewis’s Woodpecker – first one of the season for us. They are really beautiful birds with striking reddish bellies and iridescent greenish black backs. Before the day was over we had seen three of them. I guess they all arrived at once.

At one stop, I was caught up with the patterns in the water while Juliet was searching down a bird with an unusual song she could not identify. We looked at a new burn area from last year and tried to find morels with no luck.

Here is a list of the birds we saw:

 

Canada Goose
Mallard
Green-winged Teal
Ring-necked Duck
Barrow’s Goldeneye
Common Merganser
Ruddy Duck
California Quail
Pied-billed Grebe
Great Blue Heron
Turkey Vulture
Osprey
Red-tailed Hawk
Sora
American Coot
Killdeer
Eurasian Collared-Dove
Mourning Dove
Rufous Hummingbird
Calliope Hummingbird
Belted Kingfisher
Lewis’s Woodpecker
Williamson’s Sapsucker
Red-naped Sapsucker
Hairy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
American Kestrel
Hammond’s Flycatcher
Dusky Flycatcher
Pacific-slope Flycatcher
Say’s Phoebe
Western Kingbird
Warbling Vireo
Black-billed Magpie
American Crow
Common Raven
Tree Swallow
Violet-green Swallow
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Black-capped Chickadee
Mountain Chickadee
Red-breasted Nuthatch
Pygmy Nuthatch
House Wren
Golden-crowned Kinglet
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Western Bluebird
Townsend’s Solitaire
American Robin
European Starling
Nashville Warbler
Yellow Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Townsend’s Warbler
Spotted Towhee
Chipping Sparrow
Vesper Sparrow
Savannah Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
Lazuli Bunting
Red-winged Blackbird
Western Meadowlark
Yellow-headed Blackbird
Brewer’s Blackbird
Brown-headed Cowbird
House Finch
Cassin’s Finch
Red Crossbill
Pine Siskin
American Goldfinch
House Sparrow

 

Weather has assisted fire fighters in the containment of the Twisp River Fire during the last few days. After a week of smothering smoke cloaking our valley, a couple of cold fronts passed through over the weekend, clearing the air with breezes and some rainfall. It’s a great relief. Yesterday brought blue skies and cool temperatures and a smoke-free atmosphere to the Methow. I hope the same thing is happening with the rest of the fire-ravaged landscape around the west.

Many homes in the Twisp River valley were saved by dedicated fire fighters. Our friends’ house is one of those. They live near the river and they asked me to come by to photograph their home and surroundings to preserve the memories of this event. Yesterday we joined them for a tour of their burned property. While much of the garden was burned, there is still food to salvage. The tomatoes, despite their scorched skin are still good on the inside! Corn cooked on the stalk tastes like corn cooked on the grill. Rhubarb is already coming back and the zucchini plant has new blossoms! This garden is a fire survivor!

Last year we were some of the fire survivors. This year, with the devastating fires in North Central Washington, there are many more fire survivors.

%d bloggers like this: