When smoke gets in your eyes, er, I mean lungs

Print Article

Pardon me while I cough!

Iím one of the many thousands of walking wounded this week as we breathe in smoke that has settled on the Flathead Valley from a ring of fire surrounding us in Northwest Montana.

Of course, itís hard to take too seriously the health issues caused by low air quality when there are firefighters and others putting their lives at risk trying to keep the rest of us safe. Meanwhile, in the south, hurricanes Harvey and Irma are reminding us just how good most of us have it in Montana.

But the fact of the matter is the gritty, grimy ash that turns the sun red is probably turning our lungs black, bit by bit, and it is certainly causing health issues for anyone with asthma or other lung conditions.

Iíve been coughing for five weeks, and probably started out with some kind of bronchitis when the fire season was just getting under way last month. After a week without improvement, I went to the doctor and got a prescription for an antibiotic. When that ran out after five days, I got a prescription for a second antibiotic that was supposed to be taken for 10 days. Didnít matter. Iím still coughing.

Now I donít know whether I have a viral infection or if my already weakened lungs are just aggravated by the incessant smoke, but either way Iím more than eager for a chance to breathe fresh air again.

Itís a shame that this major environmental disaster is happening in the wake of Hurricane Harvey and simultaneously with Hurricane Irma. Normally, the major national news outlets would all be dedicating time and resources to reporting on fires that have burned dozens of homes, destroyed historic Sperry Chalet, and threatened Lake McDonald Lodge, but this year we are living in a virtual news blackout as far as the rest of the country is concerned.

Hopefully, when the fires run their course (By the end of October? Fingers crossed!) Montana and the rest of the West will not be forgotten. The managers of our national forests and parklands need to be held accountable for policies that have allowed fire danger to reach this level. Environmental challenges to logging have left our forests woefully dangerous tinder boxes and put lives and national treasures at risk.

And if you happen to believe in global warming, then allowing the nation to turn healthy trees into a steady stream of CO2 and other pollutants that blacken our skies is just insane. Itís time to revisit how we prevent forest fires, how we fight them, and how we pay for them. My cough isnít the only thing that needs a remedy.

Print Article

Read More Frank Miele: Editor's 2 Cents

Our societyís tragic sickness canít be fixed with Band-Aid

February 17, 2018 at 7:00 pm | Daily Inter Lake It is natural in the wake of any tragedy to ask questions, to seek answers, to place blame, and particularly to ask how a similar tragedy can be avoided in the future. Thus, following the school sho...

Comments

Read More

FEMA FLIP: Maybe Whitefish Energy wasnít so bad after all!

February 10, 2018 at 7:29 pm | Daily Inter Lake Whitefish Energy probably wonít say so, but the power contractor won vindication of sorts last week when it got a shout-out from a FEMA official for its work restoring power in Puerto Rico. Youíll n...

Comments

Read More

Why would a journalism school be afraid of free speech?

February 03, 2018 at 7:00 pm | Daily Inter Lake If there are two institutions that should support free speech without reservation, they would be journalism and higher education. True journalism cannot exist without freedom of expression, and part...

Comments

Read More

Huffington Post smears Ryan Zinke with fake charge

January 27, 2018 at 7:00 pm | Daily Inter Lake The fake news media took another scalp this week, er, I mean, they distorted another story in order to smear the Trump administration. What else is new, right? This time it was Interior Secretary R...

Comments

Read More

Contact Us

(406) 755-7000
727 East Idaho
Kalispell, MT 59901

©2018 Daily Inter Lake Terms of Use Privacy Policy
X
X