Ominous flashes on the horizon near Mt Hood caught my sleepy eyes as I looked at the stars in the pre-dawn blackness. At 6am, the sun, still below the horizon, lit the sky enough to see thunder clouds moving in quickly from the south. The not-quite-rising sun cast a red-orange glow on a forming rainbow. Shortly, the sky erupted into a spectacular light show.
A hard rain followed the lightning show but only dampened the ground enough to make a few weeds start growing again. Unfortunately, the lightning started a huge fire between Hood River and Mt. Hood. The next few days, smoke billowed thousands of feet higher than the 11,000 foot peak of Hood. The following week, fanned by 50mph winds, the fire continued to grow uncontained.
Now, with the winds gone and temperatures in the mid 90's and the fire still burning, the Gorge is hazy with smoke. The thick air provides spectacular sunsets. Although we enjoy the incredible shows of nature, our thoughts go out to the firefighters with the hot, nasty job of battling the blaze.