NON-LOCAL-VIEW –Oregon Fires–(Updated)

(Photo credits first four pictures, Arthur Shaw)

My younger brother has been posting some unnerving pictures on Facebook of one of the many fires in Oregon. So far he hasn’t posted any pictures of actual fire, but does give a clear idea of the threat people feel.

Yesterday the sky began to become obscured by smoke on the dry, hot east winds.

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Here is his house at 2:30 in the afternoon, today, with the exterior lighting automatically clicking on.

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Here are burned leaves he notes falling from the sky.

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And here is the notice he gets served.

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Personally I am praying for my brother, because I am selfish. I am even praying for a materiel object, his house, because he built it by hand and it involved amazing effort. However he is not alone, nor is this fire the only fire.

Nor is it only the people who live there who are involved. The traffic would be bad enough if it just involved the locals. But an amazing 200,000 have come to Oregon to view the total eclipse. Now they must turn tail and flee fire.

If you happen to believe in the power of prayer, I think this may be a situation worthy of stopping what we, who are safe, are doing, and praying for those we don’t know.

UPDATE –August 24

Prayers were answered, as the winds died and humidity rose. The blaze became less of a crazy firestorm:

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And became more of a fire that can be approached by firefighters:

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But not before three homes were lost in the Brookings area:

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The interlude is likely to end on Friday, when the strong, parched, hot east winds may return. The fire fighters are working like mad to set up fire-lines before that re-occurrence.

Many fire-fighters, including the fire-chief of my little town here in New Hampshire, have rushed out west to help with the Oregon fires. But they were already busy with other fires when the Brookings fire broke out. These fires can explode with astonishing rapidity, and the Brookings fire had an understaffed fire-fighter crew at first.

Now they have more firemen than any other fire, and are getting ready for a wind-shift back to the east. The fire was advancing to the east at five milers a day the last time the wind was east, but now battle lines have formed.

All attention will likely on Hurricane Harvey and Galveston on Saturday, as the short attention span of the media shifts from fire to flood. However the battles in Oregon will go on. If you are into prayer, there’s plenty to pray about. (Including a possible “Hurricane Irma” hitting me, a week from tomorrow.)

2 thoughts on “NON-LOCAL-VIEW –Oregon Fires–(Updated)

  1. We in fact went to the eclipse, flew into Medford, Oregon on Saturday the 19th. Coming into the airport, the landscape was covered with a brown-orange blanket of smoke, only the tallest peaks
    stuck out into the clear. Getting out of the plane, one’s nostrils were filled with the smell of burning wood. It didn’t look good for eclipse viewing.

    Sister Lib met us with a large rental van, and the next morning we headed north towards the
    path of totality. We stopped at Crater Lake, it was pretty crowded, largely with other eclipse
    tourists. If you’ve been there, Wizard Island was viewable but fuzzy through the smoke, and
    the far rim was nearly invisible.

    We made our way through traffic, and got to the campground / viewing area where our friends
    were, just as the sun went down, and managed to get a tent up. This spot was nice and clear,
    lots of stars, not much smoke overhead. At night we could see the orange glow of wildfires
    on the horizon.

    The next morning we saw the eclipse, it was beautiful. There were a few high stratus clouds,
    and some smoke, but who knows, maybe it added to the beauty.

    Then that afternoon we added to a monster traffic jam, a hundred miles of cars creeping along
    back through beautiful wilderness towards Portland. Also the roads to California were pretty bad, we heard. It did occur to us that another fire starting at that time would have made a real mess.

    Hopefully they will get some rain, there really are a lot of fires there now…


  2. Thanks for the great description. Except, of course, for the eclipse. I don’t think it is possible to describe an eclipse. It stirs some primal part at our cave man core. When I watched video, what struck me was the strange cheering. It was so familiar, for it was so like the cheering I heard in the eclipse I saw in 1972. The film, however, couldn’t capture the sensation.

    In Canada they take more care to cut the trees well back from the highways. In the Fort McMurry fire last year that may have saved lives, as people fled the city.

    Of course, if you cut the trees back in a National Park it defeats the purpose of having a park. However good angels watched over you and all other eclipse viewers, and the winds died for the eclipse. There was no Great Peshtigo Disaster.

    The lull in the winds is giving firefighters a chance to build fire-lines and burn backfires up around Denning. The heat and wind and extremely low humidity is likely to return Friday. They get strong, parched east winds, that makes the fires into storms of flames. The interesting thing is that the ecology of the area depends on fire, with some pine-cones designed to remain closed until opened by fire. To build amidst such beauty is a gamble we mere mortals risk, much like building on a coast prone to hurricanes.

    Speaking of which, Houston could get two feet of rain from Hurricane Harvey even as Oregon burns, this weekend. Fire and flood in the headlines.


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