Hundreds of wildfires throughout the West, in Montana, Idaho, California, Washington and Oregon, have been wreaking havoc in places that people live, work and recreate. On Saturday in the scenic Columbia River Gorge, where the towns of Stevenson, Washington, and Cascade Locks, Oregon, face one another across the water, a fire allegedly started by a person using fireworks grew out of control and trapped 140 hikers who were later rescued. The wildfire forced evacuations of nearby communities and at least temporarily forced the closure of Interstate 84.
As in many wildfire events, conditions can change rapidly with the weather and winds. If you are visiting, living or working in an area with wildfire potential, it's a good idea to keep tuned into the latest news reports and keep aware of how the situation may be changing. Smoke from the days and weeks of wildfires burning throughout the Western U.S. is creating unhealthy conditions in many areas. There are maps available that show the level of air quality around the country, along with recommendations for what to do when air quality is unhealthy or hazardous.
See www.firewise.org for tips and tools on preparing for a wildfire, including 7 steps to take if a fire is imminent. Be ready to leave if fire threatens, or if local officials call for evacuation of your area. Check out NFPA's tips for high fire danger days.