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Ashes Upon Ashes: Forests to Dust

Sunday, November 12, 2017 16:17
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The world is burning around me. This is incredible…

I went outside at first light to finish staining the deck and it seemed cloudy- but it was smoke. Soon, the sun popped up, but you could look right at it easily and it looked like a strawberry-tangerine candy. Weirdest of all– ash was actually falling from the sky softly like snow! I can’t remember being anywhere in the west side of the mountains when ash was falling.

I check Facebook, and all of my friends are freaking out in that semi-calm/semi-hysterical way because our favorite sites in the gorge are completely burning! I used to live by the gorge and Gerick still works there, not far from the Douglas Fir forests that are so beloved.

By this afternoon, THESE types of alerts are being put out to people who live where I used to live. They have to prepare to evacuate!


Some examples of what I mean:

Next to where I used to live when I first came to Portland area:

And next to where I used to live after that, in “Stone’s Throw” next to “Crow Flies”:

Advice to prepare ahead of time:

They issued this list of pre-evacuation preparation steps. They recommend you use these tips as soon as you’re issued a Level 1 (Get Ready) evacuation notice:

Inside your home:

  • Shut all windows and doors
  • Remove flammable window shades, curtains and close metal shutters.
  • Remove lightweight curtains.
  • Move flammable furniture to the center of the room, away from windows and doors.
  • Shut off gas at the meter; turn off pilot lights. Only a certified technician from your local gas company can.
  • Leave your lights on so firefighters can see your house under smoky conditions.
  • Shut off the air conditioning.


  • Gather up flammable items from the exterior of the house and bring them inside (patio furniture, children’s toys, doormats, trash cans, etc.) or place them in your pool.
  • Turn off propane tanks.
  • Move propane BBQ appliances away from structures.
  • Connect garden hoses to outside water valves or spigots for use by firefighters. Fill water buckets and place them around the house.
  • Don’t leave sprinklers on or water running, they can affect critical water pressure.
  • Leave exterior lights on so your home is visible to firefighters in the smoke or darkness of night.
  • Put your Emergency Supply Kit in your vehicle.
  • Back your car into the driveway with vehicle loaded and all doors and windows closed. Carry your car keys with you.
  • Have a ladder available and place it at the corner of the house for firefighters to quickly access your roof.
  • Seal attic and ground vents with pre-cut plywood or commercial seals.
  • Patrol your property and monitor the fire situation. Don’t wait for an evacuation order if you feel threatened.

Some older teens and early 20-somethings threw a lit firecracker into Eagle Creek Canyon– LAUGHING.

Yeah, that led to THIS:

I can’t stop crying… I’m feeling so devastated right now… Take a look at what is happening that the national news is ignoring! I have been to all of them multiple times throughout my life. This is the area I consider “home” in my heart.

I84 on the Oregon side is a main pass through the mountains to get east. It is now closed. The smaller Highway 14 on the Washington side of the gorge is also closed. It is now almost IMPOSSIBLE to drive east to west or vice versa. You have to fly in now most places. Trucks can’t make deliveries and I84 is their biggest artery, since it is mostly flat through the mountains, and much safer to drive. Shit is going down on the West Coast!

In Portland, it is so smoky that some areas are hard to see to drive, and air quality is at the worst alert that can even be issued. You can’t breathe there.

In the Gorge — the place of my heart. My most beloved area of the entire planet…

Before and after pictures of the gorge as seen from one peak and historic tunnel they just restored in 2009:

From Stevenson, WA– which is close to my Girl Scout camp, as seen from across the Columbia River– the site where these houses are are now in danger of burning as well– the fire jumped the river:

Finally– wildlife is fleeing in all directions, panicked and exhausted. People are being urged to leave them alone and to let them pass. The flames are so widespread now that the wildlife are running out of places to go…

God f–king dammit! Those are MY GODDAMNED TREES!!!

I can’t stop the tears. This is just so fucking devastating! I can’t believe it! My world is imploding. I may have to host friends who have no where to go when this hits their area. It is 0% contained– which means it is just burning freely and marching across the land. This is so awful... I can’t even express how badly I feel right now. So many places I love just GONE. Many of my dreams have been annihilated. I haven’t processed fully what this will mean to my future plans. This was where I was hoping to live one day…

Oh my god…



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