I live in downtown Portland, Oregon. This week I walked outside and it was as if the city was on fire. There was a strong smell of burning pine trees, and I could only see clearly about a block ahead of me. Naturally, I freaked out, if Portland is on fire, I should probably evacuate…? No one else seemed to have noticed so I whipped out my phone and looked up the news.
Portland wasn’t on fire…but seemingly everywhere else was. Currently there are 74 documented forest fires in Idaho, Montana, Oregon, California and Washington. And there might be more, the website had a warning “we are experiencing significant web traffic due to the ongoing wildfire activity. Access to website content may be limited…”
So what was happening in my downtown neighborhood was the smoke from these forest fires (closest one is a hundred miles away) was funneling in and settling on our city. And Portland isn’t the only one, you can watch ‘air quality’ live and see most of the Oregon Coast, Eastern California and Northern Idaho are covered with medium to heavy smoke, resulting in poor air quality.
This should have put me at ease knowing my livelihood wasn’t about to be entrenched in flames. But it just gave me a somber feeling knowing Climate Change is beginning to take a toll, even here.
In a recent article, The Guardian interviewed firefighters taking on these forest fires. It was noted that even those who have been around 30-40 years have never seen fires like these. Not only did they remark on the sheer quantities we have seen, but also as well as their…freakishness. Recent fires have been spreading at a rate that many have never seen. They also follow their own path, none of the normal tactics seem to be working on these freak fires.
How does this relate to Climate Change? The global temperature has been raised 1.4 degrees due to rising greenhouse gases trapped in our atmosphere, from our use of fossil fuels and other toxic emissions. This has caused droughts all over, most notable is California who has been in an extreme drought over 4 years.
Droughts are breeding grounds for forest fires for obvious reasons. When an area goes over a season with little to no rain, mega fires are created. The US Forest Services cannot even fund to take preventative action, because there have been so many fires this season. This should be startling to anyone…
But as I walked around town in the haze, I had a little hope in my heart because I know that we are making changes, and that our God has given us the tools to reverse the impact of climate change. We need to take these signs of our earth groaning, very seriously, and trust that God can help us make a difference!
Want to help now? Sign our commitment to become a Climate Caretaker and get updates on our resources and latest news relating to Climate Change.