I have to say, never have I experienced anything like this before in my life. For people of the Pacific Northwest, this is a common situation every summer. However, the Rowena fire that I have been tweeting and putting pictures up on Facebook even had my family concerned. On Wednesday it was creeping a little to close to The Dalles, a town of 14,000.
The Dalles at night from Sorosis Park
On Wednesday my little family and I all loaded up in our Subaru and headed to Oregon for a vacation. We had no idea what was waiting for us. We were about a few minutes outside our destination. When we ran into this:
This sort of fire I have seen before. Large plums of smoke near a road. Usually some sort of emergency presence. Just keep motoring and everything is fine. We were a little alarmed though when we saw a helicopter dropping water and filling up in a little lake. Usually they don’t expends such resources on a small event.
When we arrived at my in-laws I started looking into the fire. There did seem to be some concern on social media, as well as on the news. It didn’t take long though to hear about the first evacuation notices, so we actually did go for a drive to investigate. This is what we saw:The the fire was advancing in a line right for the city! It was starting to get freaky really quick. Soon you were able to see if from the shopping center, then, almost anywhere in town. The smoke w thick and the tensions started to ride. That night we were thinking about what to do if we evacuate, and we all kept our phones next to us in case of any alerts.The the next day when we woke up, the reports on twitter were positive. The fire had burnt itself out! However, that wasn’t the end. The wind and the dry day was promising for more, and the fire crews had a long day ahead of them. And I have to say this, those men and women are hero’s. They work tirelessly here in the PNW to protect everyone from these fires, we are lucky to have them. The next set of photos show the aftermath of Wednesday night.
Thursday was a little lighter for the city, but not for the firefighters. It was another day of intense protecting of life and structure. There were also some very tense evacuations and one house that burned. My thoughts go out for that family and everyone else who had to leave their home not knowing if they would have it to return to. That night we went out and tried to get some night shots of the fire. All I had was my cell, so these are all the shots I got.
Others with more talent and better equipment also had some better shots, here are a few links to other examples.
It is an event like this that really puts things in perspective, and I fell very fortunate for my family being safe this week. It isn’t over yet and if you want more up to date information, please visit the official facebook and twitter accounts of the Rowena Fire. And if you are a member of this community reading in this, my families thoughts are with yours. Take care.