Wednesday, July 31, 2013
In need of a change in weather.....
The fires around us are still growing, the smoke in the air all over the region ranges from unhealthy to hazardous....it's hazardous here at our house. Yesterday I went to town for errands (Grants Pass) and drove with headlights on - picture thick soupy fog - that's what it looks like here only it's accompanied by smoke smell. Here at our house the van, and everything else, is covered with ash and burnt pine needles that dissolve into dust if I touch them. And all this smoke hanging low is hampering the fire fight as the retardant bombers and copters with buckets can only drop on areas they can see which isn't on the fires closest to us.
There are now more than 5000 fire fighters working the fires, living in 3 different tent cities in the region, one up in Glendale, one in Selma, one at the high school near us with another to open near us soon. More fire fighters from across the nation are on the way, the Oregon National Guard is awaiting activation orders.
My mailing address is Grants Pass but I don't live in the city - I live 13 miles northwest of the city in Merlin right in the thick of it. I live close to the Rogue River - as of midnight the Wild & Scenic portion of the river closed for rafters safety concerns, a decision not taken lightly as it has a huge economical impact on the region. The GP community concert was cancelled last night, the Merlin concert for tomorrow cancelled - both are held outdoors. The Thursday afternoon grower's market has been cancelled - not sure what will happen with the huge Saturday market.
Here are the major fires in my area - all are in steep and dangerous terrain, now over 35,000 acres.....did you know there are 640 acres in a square mile? It's amazing the things I've learned over the years because of forest fires (the Biscuit Fire here in 2002 was 500,000 acres and burned for 6-7 months).
Brimstone Fire is the closest to us - 0% contained, it is continuing to grow as the smoke is so thick there is no air support and the fire fighters on the ground can't even see the fire but they can hear it. This is the fire of immediate concern to us. *Update - I just saw an update on this fire - overnight they got fire line improvements on the SE side of the fire and back burns were successful - this is the closest side of the fire to us.
Labrador Fire is to the south of us - 0% contained - doubled overnight. It is burning in the area of the Biscuit Fire 11 years ago, snags and rolling logs are causing issues. Big controversy after that fire on whether or not to allow logging of the snags and logs.....decision to leave it be......now it is a hazard. There are voluntary evacuations in order.
Big Windy Fire to the west of us - 0% contained - this is the one that has closed the Rogue River to rafters, last I heard they were wrapping the Zane Grey cabin to save it.
Douglas Complex to the north of us consists of 3 fires, a finger of it approaching the Brimstone Fire - 5% contained. There are 150 evacuations, 90 in Douglas Co, 60 in Josephine Co (my county). And there are 400 other homes on stand-by for evacuation if need be.
Whiskey Complex - this is to the east of us and not of concern for us personally - 7% contained.
I am breathing a sigh of relief this morning, not because of any progress on the fire fight but because Sam who was to leave tomorrow morning for a week long trip to the east coast has postponed his trip until it's safe. I was getting panicky thinking of being left alone to deal with the situation.
This morning thru tomorrow there is a chance of thunderstorms, dry thunderstorms with lightning - am keeping fingers crossed that our weather forecasters who are so often wrong are wrong on this prediction.
Send good thoughts our way for all those who have been evacuated, those of us they may need to and for the fire fighters out on the lines who are doing such a dangerous job fighting these fires.
And for me today, I'm staying inside out of the smoke and will work in the studio to try and keep my mind off the fire situation.....not sure how well that will work but I'll at least get something done....