Fires rage through the Pacific Northwest in this Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) image snapped by NASA´s Aqua satellite on September 2, 2003. In Oregon, the B & B complex fire in the Cascade Mountains spews smoke into the north east corner of the state. By September 4, the fire would grow to consume over 70,000 acres. To the east, over 20 large fires burn in Montana and northern Idaho. Smoke from these and other fires in British Colombia settles into the valleys of the Canadian Rocky Mountains, highlighting the craggy contours of the land.
The Pacific Northwest (PNW), sometimes referred to as Cascadia, is a geographic region in western North America bounded by the Pacific Ocean to the west and (loosely) by the Rocky Mountains on the east. Though no official boundary exists, the most common conception includes the Canadian province of British Columbia (BC) and the U.S. states of Idaho, Oregon, and Washington. Broader conceptions reach north into Southeast Alaska and Yukon, south into northern California, and east to the Continental Divide to include Western Montana and parts of Wyoming. Narrower conceptions may be limited to the coastal areas west of the Cascade and Coast mountains. The variety of definitions can be attributed to partially overlapping commonalities of the region’s history, culture, geography, society, and other factors.