After spending the last seven weeks on the road, I just made my way from Washington to central California, where I'll be for the next few days.
I've had some incredible adventures on my annual Wild West road trip, but the air quality index has been all over the place due to smoke from wildfires raging in the United States and Canada. Hiking and running outside has been completely out of the question on numerous occasions, and earlier this week it was literally snowing ash in the suburbs of Seattle. The photo above was snapped right after I crossed over from Oregon to California, and while Shasta is still just as impressive as ever, I couldn't believe how much of a smoky haze was lingering in the sky. When I drove from Montana to Washington the previous week, I pulled off the road for a few minutes and watched one blaze burn away as firefighters battled it from the ground and air.
As I've said before, fires are part of the forest life cycle and they can make for jaw-dropping colors in the sky, but a number currently raging out west have been caused by careless individuals who ignored burn bans or, in the case of one incredibly stupid piece of sh*t, lit smoke bombs in the forest. I’m happy to hear that all the hikers trapped on Oregon’s Eagle Creek trail have been rescued, but I hope authorities nail the person who set off the fireworks that sparked the blaze — and release their name. When it comes to respecting the planet, ignorance only goes so far. There is no excuse for behavior like this, and I think the punishment of being shamed publicly is fit for the crime. Not only did they put the lives of dozens of people at risk, but that fire has consumed over THOUSANDS of acres and last I checked, it’s zero percent contained.
Please respect the burn bans, understand how to build (and extinguish) a campfire, don’t throw burning material out of your car, don’t try to capture drone footage of wildfires and stop setting off fireworks and smoke bombs on our beautiful, wild lands. If you see people acting irresponsibly, SPEAK UP. Staying silent is just as bad as encouraging them to continue with this kind of behavior. If you have an audience and you claim to care about protecting the planet, I encourage you to let your voice be heard. Thank you.