Bend's Air Quality Hazardous
The Sunday issue of The Bulletin, Bend's local newspaper, contained an article on the 2017 Oregon fire season. According to the article, we are on track to at least equal the amount of acres burned in 2015 when over 600,000 acres of Oregon land caught fire. Through last Tuesday, August 29, 58 fires have burned close to 460,000 acres throughout the state.
In Central Oregon, the impact of the fires has resulted in almost daily hazy sky and sometimes dangerous air quality. This morning, checking the USA Air Pollution Quality Index, Bend's index was almost 400 which is considered extremely hazardous.
Sunday evening we traveled up Cascade Lakes Highway to Sparks Lake. Driving on the road, the smoke became progressively thicker the more we entered the mountains. Driving past Mt. Bachelor, the mountain was invisible behind a thick layer of smoke and even the far end of the parking lot was hard to see. When we reached Sparks Lake, the smoke was extremely thick. We parked in the boat launch parking lot with no other vehicles around (Labor Day weekend the lake would typically be filled with campers and people enjoying the outdoors) and walked the 1/3 of a mile on the Ray Atkeson Loop Trail to the vista point which overlooks the lake toward South Sister and Broken Top. This is what we saw:
The normal view from this point is:
Bend Oregon Real Estate Impacted by Fires
When Bend Brokers show property to perspective buyers, much of what "sells" a home is the view. Our MLS input forms emphasize Cascade mountain, city, river, waterfront, other mountain, and terrain views. When the smoke in the air keeps these views invisible, it is difficult to convince people who do not know the area to trust us - the views are spectacular. When we cannot walk outside without coughing due to smoke, when the elderly and sick are told to stay indoors due to unhealthy air, when windows cannot be opened due to the smoke of burning forests, it is hard to sell real estate. We will follow up in a few weeks with the actual published data on how Bend real estate sales have been impacted by the summer's fires.
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