Update on the Holiday Farm Fire

The fire near my home in Brownsville, Oregon came close to us but was stopped by heroic efforts on the part of firefighters, ranchers and farmers, and just ordinary citizens who stepped up to help. In the town of Molalla, there were no firefighters available so the people of the town and nearby got in their trucks and tractors, brought shovels and any equipment they could find to fight the fire. As a result, the town, surrounded by blazes, survived with much less damage than they would have had.

There are many stories like this, of people helping move livestock out of the path of the fire, people taking others in who had no place to go, and tons of supplies donated for those who lost all. It shows the good side of human nature. But the fires still burn and the little bit of rain we are getting soon will not put them out completely. There are other concerns as well. Thousands of animals have been rescued but their pasture is burned up and the stores of food laid in for the winter for them are burned as well. The animals have escaped the fire but now face starvation unless they get some help.

People, for the most part, have not yet been able to see the damage to their homes and communities as the roads are still blocked off while crews mop up and search and rescue looks for victims. When folks return to their homes, they will find a huge mess to clean up and a lot of rebuilding to do. We’ve had some heartbreaking casualties such as the young boy who died with his grandmother in her car with the family dog across his lap. They were unable to get out before the fire got to them. The boy’s mother had gone for help but was severely burned herself, so severely burned that her husband who found her as he was rushing to save his family did not recognize her.

Wild animals have been hit really hard. Some have wandered into areas where people live creating a danger for them and sometimes for the people as well. I heard a cougar was seen in a residential neighborhood near here. I’m sure that has happened in other areas as well. Other animals, less dangerous to people, have been forced from the forest to make their way as best as they can. Some people have put out food and water for them. Many of them will be hurt or die trying to navigate the roads and neighborhoods in their search for safety, food, and water. Please be kind to them and if you can, set out some water or food.

It is certain that the aftermath of this fire season will impact the West for years to come. One wonders how our country can sustain the fires, hurricanes, and drought. Climate change is with us and if we don’t do something about our consumption of fossil fuels and change the way we grow our food, next season might be worse.

www.irawhite.net

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I am a writer living in Oregon. My writings can be found on this site and on my website, www.irawhite.net. I am now retired from the USDA.

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Ira Lee White

Ira Lee White

I am a writer living in Oregon. My writings can be found on this site and on my website, www.irawhite.net. I am now retired from the USDA.

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