The Washington Post

Smoke from wildfires in West paints a sunset orange at close of weekend

- BY MARTIN WEIL martin.weil@washpost.com

On Sunday, the fire of the setting sun in Washington seemed to burn through the smoke from other fires, those burning in the West.

The orange disk of the sun seemed to be screened by an orange haze, creating an orange glow across the western horizon.

For much of the day, in fact, the skies assumed a milky quality, diluting the normal blue color.

A photo of an orange circle, surrounded by an orange halo, both embedded in a diffuse and hazy orange background appeared on the Twitter feed of the local office of the National Weather Service.

Unlike in places closer to the actual wildfires in the West, we appeared to be in no danger of flaming embers igniting fields and foliage.

But wind currents aloft proved capable of carrying minute particles of smoke for many hundreds of miles, across the continent and into our skies.

In the meantime, Sunday proved to be another of those not-too-hot (speaking in temperatur­e terms) September days in the 80s. The high was 86.

So far, counting the last day of August, we have now recorded 13 consecutiv­e days below 90 degrees in a period that is generally regarded as still being summer.

So our current cause for meteorolog­ical dissatisfa­ction may not be buttressed by any large amount of statistica­l evidence.

However, it is no secret that forecasts for the coming days call for a return to the 90s.

Such thermal assertiven­ess with the equinox but 10 days off, would perhaps serve as a general sort of warning against premature declaratio­n of victory.

It reminds the doubters that Washington summers ought not to be considered paper tigers, easily banished by the turning of a calendar page.

Meanwhile if fault were to be found with Sunday, it might be based on grounds of humidity.

The day did seem a bit more humid than the last couple of days might have caused us to become accustomed to.

Although they may seem a bit arcane, dew points do relate humidity to comfort. For a couple of hours Sunday evening, they reached 69, whereas as recently as Friday, they’d been as low as 49.

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