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Fire turns the sky orange above a Clackamas FCU branch in Canby, Ore., a wildfire evacuation zone, at noon on Sept. 9, 2020 (photo credit: Aaron Goff, president/CEO for Clackamas FCU).

As I write this, all the windows to my house are shut tightly to block out the smoke-filled air. It’s a good thing I’ve gotten used to wearing a mask, because it’s not safe to go outside without one – even without any people around who might be carrying a deadly virus. Who would have ever thought I’d have more than one reason to wear an N95?

I’m located outside of Portland, Ore., and the last few days have been tense, with historic wildfires burning more than a million acres across the state, hundreds of homes lost, evacuees filling up parking lots and smoke creating the worst air quality in the world. I spent a couple of days anxiously refreshing the evacuation map for Clackamas County, where most of my loved ones are located and two of the state’s largest fires, Riverside and Beachie Creek, have continued to burn. My family and I were fortunate to remain in evacuation Level 1 out of 3 (1 means “get ready,” 2 “get set” and 3 “go!”), and as of this writing on Sept. 13, the evacuation warning has been removed altogether, with cooler, wetter weather expected to arrive to help firefighters get the spread under control.

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