It is easy, I think, to forget that the west is burning. It has been for some time now. California never closed last years fire season and Washington has lost more houses and seen more fire, still early in the typical season, than it ever has. Oregon too, is burning.
But there are barbecues and fireworks and concerts and long lazy days swimming in the now warm waters of our abundant lakes and rivers. It is easy to pay no mind to the helicopters practicing their low passes over the lakes, readying to bring water if the fires get too close. And the sunsets are lovely.
For the first few days, it is easy to relish those sunsets, take pictures, and share a glass of wine with friends. But then the days turn hazy, a false layer of clouds holds the heat into the valley. It is smoke, we are reminded. The cost of those sunsets is the burning of the west.