During the month of September, there were a number of forest fires burning across Oregon. These fires, some of which are still not yet 100% caused considerable damage in terms of burnt forest and land (nearly 1 million acres), destroyed homes, and human fatalities.
Although Portland was not touched by the wildfires, it did receive an extraordinary amount of smoke from the fires, resulting in extremely hazardous air. At one point, Portland’s Air Quality Index (AQI) was 516, constituting by far the worst air of any city in the world. With such air quality levels and such thick smoke, the sky took on a yellowish-gray color, and blocked out the sun. It was dangerous to even walk outside.
Toward the latter half of the month, weather patterns changed, the fires become more manageable, and Portland’s air improved back to normal (clean) levels. In addition to finding a renewed appreciation for clear skies, Portlanders and other Oregonians developed a strong sense of gratitude for the fire fighters who worked themselves to points of total exhaustion to keep Oregon safe.