" " Air quality in Portland, Oregon was measured among the worst in the world Sept. 14, 2020, after the city was blanketed with smoke and smog from deadly wildfires spreading across three western U.S. states. ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty ImagesLabor Day weekend 2020 in Oregon was hot and dry, but it had already been a hot, dry summer. Since then, the region has declared the start of fire season in May just three times, and all have been in the last 20 years: 2001, 2006 and 2020. The city was choked with the worst air quality in the world and we had nowhere to escape. I constantly checked the fire and air quality map, the local forecast and the InciWeb site for the nearest fire — and even added shortcuts to them on my cellphone.