It wasn't the grassholes – this time

Let's see. Rain is in the forecast. It's late summer. And suddenly the air quality in the Willamette Valley goes bad with smoke. All day today, that's been the case.

Could it be field burning? That's the medieval practice among a small number of Marion County and Linn County grass farmers that has been known to trash the air for millions of residents in Salem, Portland, and Eugene. This is the time of year for that crude activity. Is that what's causing the loss of our air quality?

According to the state environmental folks, the answer is no.

ODA [the Oregon Department of Agriculture] did not authorize any field burning today. The smoke up and down the Willamette Valley today blew in from wildfires in the Cascades beginning Thursday and overnight into Friday.

 It looks like air quality is improving up and down the valley now as this strong front moves in.

I'm surprised, actually. But I'll be glad to breathe deep again in the rain tomorrow.