Thursday, August 20, 2015

Seeing red

We are not blogging about Astoria today, kids.

My date and I taking a turn through Bermtopia, visiting Number One Son, The Miz and The Most Adorable Grandson in the World. And here's what it looks like:

It's fire season. And most of the world around us is red or grey as smoke and ash mute the late summer sun and skies.

There are about 36 large active fires burning in Washington and Oregon today. (Sorry, Idahoans, I can only get my head wrapped around what's happening in my two "home" states, but I know it's bad your direction, too.) Crunching numbers gathered by the Northwest Interagency Coordination Center, this translates into more than 700,000 acres of forest and grass lands. Almost 9,000 men and women are fighting these fires in conditions that are unimaginable. And, tragically, 3 of these heroes lost their lives yesterday. Four of their colleagues were critically injured. I cannot fathom the tragedy of this.

While those of us safe and sound in Bermtopia grump about the pressing heat, smoke and gritty air quality, we try also to remember the human price paid by those who live on or close to these fire lines. Homes and businesses gone. Irreplaceable family mementos in ash. Livestock and livelihoods scattered and presumably lost -- for how long, who knows? Charming towns and beloved recreational areas emptied by mandatory evacuation orders. Many face uncertain days ahead as winds are predicted to kick up across eastern Washington and Oregon tonight, fanning fires that range in containment from 0 to 94 percent.

We've lived through 28 fire seasons here in Bermtopia. This is the worst we can remember in terms of danger and destruction. If you'd like to reach out and help the families and communities affected by these fires, there are ways to do this. The American Red Cross has set up a Western Wildfires page -- under "Ways to Give."

That's a pretty good place to start.

And, oh, maybe skip that wienie roast and quit smoking if you're schlepping through eastern Oregon or Washington any time in the near future. (Can't do anything about fires started by lightning strikes, but some were human-caused, people. That's just stoo-pid.)

You're welcome.

1 comment:

  1. It is a tragedy. I watch with horror the fire news from the west and I am chastened but not affected directly. New Mexico has been spared from wildfires this year as rainfall was above average and it made a big difference.We drove through those beautiful forests last August on our trip back from Seattle. Magnificent quality of life, now ash. And I am sorry about the loss of human life. The firefighters are some of the bravest people I know.