Obviously I’m not suggesting we’re in the final days of destruction or anything like that, but we’re in the middle of a firestorm the likes of which I haven’t seen during my 13 years in Susanville. It’s not like I haven’t seen clouds of smoke drifting over Diamond Mountain as some fire burns somewhere around us. Sadly, I have. But I haven’t seen hundreds of thousands of acres go up in flames in multiple fires up and down the West Coast.
A couple of weeks ago I took a few vacation days and went to visit my daughter who lives in central Washington near Mt. St. Helens. I was looking forward to breathing a little clean air as I planned my route of travel. Rather than go up Interstate 5, I decided to drive up 139 and up into Oregon before joining the interstate near Eugene. I find the beauty of the eastern side of California’s mountains captivating, and I looked forward to some stellar scenery.
As I passed into Modoc County at Adin, the air quality actually was worse than in Susanville. That surprised me a little.
As I drove on, I discovered a wildfire burning in southern Oregon and as I dashed across the Beaver State I passed through an active fire area on the road to Eugene.
I could see smoky skies all the way to Portland as the daylight gave way to evening and the high-rises rose above the Columbia River and that funky drawbridge on the interstate.
The next morning I commented to my daughter and her family about the hazy skies in central Washington, but they said it was just their typical air pollution. Frankly, I had my doubts.
The night before I came back to Susanville, a fire broke out in Cle Elum, Washington. We watched the news on television in horror as the fire quickly swept through the town destroying 70 homes in a terrifying inferno. As a television camera panned out from one burning home totally engulfed in flames, we could see a couple of fire engines nearby, their red and blue lights swirling as the firefighters watched helplessly after their unsuccessful efforts to save someone’s home. As the camera continued to pan out, the scene was repeated at house after house all across the darkened rolling hills.
I didn’t want to drive back through the active fire areas in Oregon, so I decided to avoid all that and come home on Highway 44, only to discover another fire I hadn’t heard about burning near Lassen National Park and Old Station.
Then yet another fire broke out near Manton, and I was pretty worried for several days about family members who live there. (Thankfully, they are all safe and sound in a Redding motel, and their homes were saved, although many of their neighbors lost everything.)
I don’t know about you, but I’m sick and tired of all this fire and smoke.
I don’t know how the Native Americans did their rain dances, but I think I’m going to have to go out in the yard, stomp my feet on the ground and appeal to the rainmakers for a little moisture from the sky. Wanna join me?
If the old song is right, the big, big fire might be coming eventually, but we sure could use a little more water right now.
|< Prev||Next >|