I’ve been racking my brain about what to write for this month’s blog post, but then there’s always the obvious. I’ve been evacuated from my home for three weeks now due to the wildfires going on in Oregon.
Yes, my house is still standing, but it’s been touch and go. I must say, this isn’t my first wildfire rodeo, but this has certainly been the most I’ve seen folks come together.
I have a new appreciation for the old west or any period in history that didn’t have the fire departments and crews we have today. My sister, nephew, and I have had to come out to the house over the course of the last few weeks and water everything down. The power was out for the first week or so, and we had to haul buckets up from the creek to get the job done. It was grueling, but you do what you have to do.
Thank Heaven it rained like the dickens for a few days. That helps contain the fire, but it doesn’t put it out. This is another week of touch and go as the hot spots are being re-ignited by the warmer temperatures and east winds.
But through it all, I’ve watched my little community of Estacada come together like never before. Around here you grow up knowing the same folks from kindergarten through high school. Everyone knows everybody else. And thus, everyone knows who suffered the most damage. The outpouring of help and aid has been such that the donation centers have had to turn donations away. The quick organization of groups of people making lunches and snacks for the fire and brush crews, not to mention the huge amount of volunteers has also been outstanding. It’s great to not only see signs of gratitude to the fire crews in people’s driveways, but this time around there are coolers full of snacks, sandwiches, and drinks. The crews can just stop, hop out, grab what they need, and go.
I live at the end of a mile-long driveway in a log cabin. There are six residences, five in the canyon where I live. The one neighbor had a crew of thirty men made up of his friends and relatives fighting alongside the fire crews to keep the fire from burning down our homes. One house came particularly close but was saved. There are groups of folks like this all over the area. Many more homes would have been lost if not for their bravery, and I along with friends and neighbors commend them. They are still fighting in areas and working to keep the fire contained this week so it doesn’t travel any further into the canyon than it already has.
This has been both an amazing and devastating time, but it just goes to show how kind, generous. and loving folks are. My sister, a professional horsewoman, had to help evacuate 57 horses from the barn she works at. She put a post on Facebook about what she had to do, (at around midnight no less) she never asked for help. She was just giving folks a heads up to take care of their own barns and livestock. Ten folks showed up at her barn with their horse trailers ready to help within the hour. She was floored.
I’m hoping we’ll be able to return home in another week or so. It will be nice to get back to a normal routine. For some, there is no more normal for a time and our hearts and prayers go out to them. But with the incredible outpouring of love from the community, I know everyone will be all right in the end. After all, we’re all in this together.
Ironically, the book I released on 9/14 starts off with a fire. But like now, folks pull together and are there for each other.
So, for a free e-copy of Hearts of the Northwest, what acts of kindness and generosity have you seen lately? I’ll pick a random person from the comments below.