Smoke from a distant fire

Southeast Portlanders know that when the east winds blow in the summertime, it gets hot--and dry. And when they blow in the winter, it gets bitter cold.

But either time, usually the air is exceptionally clear, having blown in from the high desert of Eastern Oregon, through the Columbia Gorge.

Starting Friday, the first day of September, the east winds blew, it got hot -- and it also got surprisingly hazy. Those familiar with life in Los Angeles were reminded of that city by the combination of heat and haze.

But, unlike Los Angeles, the haze was not smog, which is a photochemical result of sunlight striking types of hydrocarbons in the air. What we had in Portland looked like smog, but smelled like smoke, and that's what it was.

The east winds were blowing into the metro area the smoke from the wildfires still burning around Mt. Hood and in eastern Washington.

You can keep track of the progress in fighting those fires by checking in regularly at the constantly-updated new news website,!

And keep hoping the wind shifts soon!

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