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30 PCB007 MAGAZINE I OCTOBER 2020 Places in the Cascade Mountains that I grew up visiting no longer exist as I knew them. Towns have been incinerated. There is noth- ing left in some places. In the county where I live, the Chehalem/Bald Peak fire was a mere six miles west of us. We were lucky. The winds were blowing away from us. It has since been contained. The picture of the Chehalem fire was taken by yours truly at midday, but it felt like it was dusk (Figure 1). Roadmap? First, Find the Road! This last month has been a challenge for yours truly. The hits keep coming in 2020. Liv- ing in Oregon is normally very beautiful. Sure, we have more than our fair share of rain, but it has been drier this year. Unfortunately, the Pacific Northwest September has been a night- mare. One would think COVID-19 would have been enough, but no, we have had the worst family of wildfires in our state's history. I originally thought of discussing roadmaps and how they pertain to our industry and analyzing trends. However, it's difficult to work with the roadmap when you can- not find the road. For a time, our visibility was zero to one-fourth of a mile. For over a week, our area had the worst air qual- ity index (AQI) in the world. Anything at 50 or below is considered normal. Where I live, we exceeded 500, and other places in the state reached values over 600. Mind you that the "hazardous" level tops out on the scale at 500. For a brief time, the air quality and vis- ibility were so bad in Portland that Alaska Airlines ceased all operations at the Port- land Airport due to hazardous conditions. Local service providers modified delivery and pick up schedules due to the conditions and allowed employees in affected areas to take care of their homes and families. For context, we have a yearly fire season, and there are typically one or two fires that consume forest timber. It happens. How- ever, this year, it started by a once-in-a- millennium windstorm from the east. High winds against trees full of foliage started a chain of events that set Oregon ablaze. Testing Todd Feature Column by Todd Kolmodin, GARDIEN SERVICES USA Figure 1: Chehalem fire at noon.

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