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Old 08-09-2017, 09:11 PM   #1
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Wildfire Visibility Conditions from Those on The Road

Some travelers are posting on the Eclipse planning thread about the visibility in various locations due to wildfire smoke/smog.

I thought it might be useful to have a thread dedicated to updates from travelers who are on the road reporting conditions not just for the Eclipse, but for the Western states and even southwestern Canada now and into the next few weeks as long as there are fire impacts. I'm planning on heading to Wyoming next week for the eclipse, but then continuing up to Glacier and Waterton Lakes in Canada, then perhaps Banff and then over to Lake Louise. If the visibility isn't good I'm bagging the extended travel and will go later in the summer or in the fall after the skies have cleared. Not wanting to invest time and expense in the those beautiful locations I've been wanting to see, if they are hazy.

Here's a link someone on the other thread posted with a current map.

https://airnow.gov/index.cfm?action=...moke_wildfires

Would be great if folks on the road who are still checking in here while traveling could keep this thread updated with reports from where they are.

Hoping for some rain and relief for those impacted by the fires directly, and of course less smoke and haze for the rest of us!
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Old 08-10-2017, 04:59 AM   #2
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Great idea for a new thread.

FYI here are the search results for "wildfire smoke 2017" in case anything useful pops up:

https://www.google.com/search?q=Wild...=airforums.com

. . . and a couple of other recent threads are there FYI.

Safe travels!

Peter

PS you might consider asking a moderator to add some geographic designation to the title of this thread IMO. Reports from the East Coast for instance may just muddy your waters? [ "NW Wildfires . . . " ]
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Old 08-10-2017, 01:05 PM   #3
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I would encourage you to not make your plans based on smoke conditions. Many of the smoke conditions shown on the AirNow map are high(ish) altitude, and don't really effect visibility. It just makes the sky grey instead of blue. We're in that condition right now. But experience has shown that these conditions can change daily, and seem hard to predict. I'd suggest using the National Fire Situation Report map (https://maps.nwcg.gov) to stay away from active big fires. The conditions downwind of a big fire for 100 or so miles seem to be more relevant.

Feel free to contact me if you ever want a current condition report for north-central Wyoming or the Bighorn Mountains.
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Old 08-10-2017, 02:16 PM   #4
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British Columbia air is a mess just now due to forest fire smoke, though we're north of the 100% eclipse path. Our cloudless sky in the central Kootenays has been a perpetual overcast for a couple of weeks due to the big fires further west. Central Montana west of Missoula was really bad when we drove through it last week, and could see smoke billowing up from hot spots. I'd suggest travelers check local air quality conditions prior to heading to a western destination, and then the weather forecasts. Some rain to clear out the air before the 21st would be most welcome.
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Old 08-10-2017, 02:30 PM   #5
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Just checked the webcams of Glacier NP. The visibility sucks. Guess it will be like this until the fall snows.
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Old 08-10-2017, 02:43 PM   #6
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I came back down to north california from squamish fleeing, the day the smoke started spilling in. Same day had air quality warnings all the way down to portland. That was a week ago. Heres a link to the live air quality index map. Great tool. http://aqicn.org/map/usa/
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Old 08-11-2017, 12:17 PM   #7
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its been very bad here the past couple of weeks in central Idaho...just extinguished two @40-60,000 fires just to the south of us, and you couldn't see the mountains a mile away. I would predict there will be haze from fires, but the eclipse should still be visible. This is a day-to-day issue, at least here in central Idaho. But safe travels in any case, and enjoy. jon
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Old 08-11-2017, 01:28 PM   #8
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Here's some info on the central Oregon fire:

https://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE...eprd553952.pdf
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Old 08-11-2017, 01:45 PM   #9
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We were in Portland on the 2nd when the smoke rolled in that afternoon, it was even thicker the next morning. We had plans to do outdoor stuff on Wed. instead we sheltered in the Airstream the rest of the day.
Our plans called for us to go north to Tacoma for the rest of the week and part of the next before heading south.
We decided to head south to get out of the smoke from Portland . We hightailed it to the Seven Feathers RV resort in Canyonville on the 3rd home on the 4th a full week before we had planed .
We didn't run out of smoke until we were south of Mt Shasta ,CA.
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Old 08-11-2017, 11:54 PM   #10
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The air quality throughout the PNW has been ugly and smoky, mainly due to the big blazes up in B.C.

The fires in the Oregon Cascades - while not as bad as B.C. - are expected to burn until the rain / snow hits this Fall.

I'm afraid we need a major change in the wind and precip patterns for conditions to improve.
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Old 08-13-2017, 01:28 PM   #11
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When Chris and I got here, Boise ID, on Monday August 7th, the sky wasn't just brown, it was completely opaque, as in you could not see the sun. These last two days we have seen patches of blue sky and brown to off-white clouds. As far as finding parking for your Airstream, come here at your own risk. We began searching last year and no one took advance reservations. Then we found a place that did, but they were full up. We came up on a wing and a prayer; my daughter who lives here found us the last spot within 30 minutes of her home. We are paying $210 a week for it; more than twice what we would pay in San Antonio TX. We were willing to though because viewing this eclipse has been his dream for the last 5 years, and I have missed my daughter, DSiL, and granddaughters soooo much since they moved here over a year ago.

I tell you what, seeing the sky like that gives an excellent preview of what it will look and be like should the EPA with all it's standards be destroyed. I cannot begin to describe how being under such a sky destroys your sense of peace and hope. I had never seen anything like it outside of photos of China. We MUST protect our planet, it's the only one we have.
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Old 08-13-2017, 02:21 PM   #12
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Thanks for the reports, keep them coming. I'm planning on leaving this Wednesday for the Jackson WY area and find a boondock spot for the eclipse.
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Old 08-14-2017, 12:55 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pcskier View Post
Thanks for the reports, keep them coming. I'm planning on leaving this Wednesday for the Jackson WY area and find a boondock spot for the eclipse.
We plan on driving up into the boonies the day or two before for the actual viewing. My being in a wheelchair this year has changed our trip paradigm dramatically, and my daughter and I want to be close so it means city for Chris and I. My ex's brother was married in Jacksonhole WY 23 years ago, beautiful all around there! It's he that brought my daughter and family here when he convinced the ex to come. They are all loving Boise!

Sky is still brownish gray clouds with small patches of blue, it actually looked better yesterday. Last night it rained and was windy, I expected much better than this. I say go anyway, better to have ventured and tried. Staying home gains you nothing. In our case I always knew my daughter would be here. We've missed each other sooooo much!
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