Image of Northwest wildfires from the International Space Station. The astronaut sends his prayers down to us.
Image of Northwest wildfires from the International Space Station. The astronaut sends his prayers down to us. Kjell Lindgren/NASA

It's nice and all quiet here in Seattle. The sky is blue and there are sexy breezes slipping through the curtains of our bedrooms (more about this tomorrow on Slog). But this local tranquility appears to be an illusion. If you look out the window, everything seems fine, but if you read or watch the news, our whole state seems to be on fire. There is even a report of a winery going up in flames in Douglas County. Hell has consumed the hills of Okanogan County, homes in Conconully are crackling, and some citizens of Chelan are wearing surgical masks because the smoke is so thick.

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One has the impression that everything wants to be on fire in rural and small-town Washington. Indeed, while returning from Portland recently, I witnessed an eruption of flames and smoke on the side of the freeway near Chehalis. I could not find a reason for this fire. It was as if it happened because that's just the way things go down these days—these final days of the Anthropocene.

You see can see the smoke from space, but not in the blue skies of our very pleased and imperturbable city.

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