For the past few weeks, severe wildfire smoke drifting into Portland has made stepping outside a health hazard. Not only that, but on Wednesday, the city recorded its 30th day over 90 degrees Fahrenheit, making this the hottest year in Portland history.
Downstate, it's worse. For much of the month, air quality conditions have been unhealthy, as firefighters work to douse blazes burning more land than was burned in all of 2016.
Travel Oregon, the state's tourism board, worries that heat and blazes are keeping tourists away.
On Thursday, as OPB first reported, tourism leaders from Oregon, Washington and California formed a coalition dedicated to attracting visitors during one of the West Coast's worst fire seasons.
The West Coast Tourism Recovery Coalition wants to debunk the conception that all of the region is consumed in flames. It would also like make up tourism dollars that were lost after last year's wildfires.
According to a statement from the tourism coalition today, which cites a Travel Oregon wildfire study, Oregon lost $51 million in tourism revenue last year. In California, Visit California adds, tourism losses due to wildfires totaled $20 million.
The coalition argues that less than one percent of the combined landmass of Oregon, Washington and California is currently on fire.
"Across all three states," the statement reads, "all gateway airports and roads are open. Most tourism regions and icons remain untouched."
In Oregon and Washington, large portions of the Columbia River Gorge recreation area are still shuttered due to damage from the September, 2017 Eagle Creek fire, which burned roughly 35,000 acres. And in northern California, the Carr fire has grown to become the largest in state history.
However, Todd Davidson, Travel Oregon's CEO, argues that out-of-towners can help the state recover from wildfire damage by planning a philanthropic vacation.
"As fires subside and smoke clears away, all Americans can support these communities by visiting fire-impacted areas for vacations this year," Davidson says. "Not only will you have world-class experiences, but you'll create memories to cherish on the spectacular West Coast while also helping your fellow Americans in recovery efforts."