The Yakima Valley is no stranger to seeing its residents wear face masks in public places, nor businesses temporarily closing their doors.
The Mount St. Helens disaster — the volcano erupted on May 18, 1980 — is well known in Central Washington for its rage and ash fall. Garden hoses, scoop shovels and snowplows became popular tools as the Valley cleaned up. Clouds of dust turned the daytime visibly dark, facial coverings became routine and volcanic ash created a gray blanket over the area.
These photos from the Herald-Republic archives, presented with their original captions, help tell the story of that time. In one, two locals wear face masks while taking a stroll through downtown, trying to avoid breathing in volcanic ash particles. In another, a local farmer attempts to blow ash away from the crops, only to be stung in the eyes by clouds of debris.