Oregon Wildfire Impact

The wildfires in Oregon have exploded this last week. Many are displaced from evacuations and some have even lost everything, including their lives. Our hearts and prayers go out to you. We also want to thank the firefighters all who are working to stop the fires for risking their lives to save others. Also those who are helping others in their time of need be providing homes, emotional support, and tangible needs. 

Creekside Quilts is so far safe although we do have nearby fires. We had no power for two days and have been making trips into the next town over to seek cell reception, information and power. Items shipped the last two days were delayed but are now completed. We will be temporarily closed or delayed for a few days because of the smoke, random power outages, and major difficulties in shipping.

There was a spark from a downed tree on a power line Wednesday morning just one mile from us, but it was quenched immediately and it is no longer a threat. Since we are located in a densely forested area with lots of large old trees, our whole area is a dry tinderbox. We have not had decent rain in months. There is another nearby wildfire heading in our general direction and we are hoping and praying that it will be contained before it destroys any more homes, property, and forestland. 

Town of Mollala, Oregon - Tues 5pm. (Photo by Coral Villarreal 9/8/20)
Red afternoon sun through smoke on a cloudless day - Gales Creek area.

As of writing this post, there are 33 active wildfires in Oregon that have burned more than 924,000 acres throughout the state. 40,000 people have been relocated and the numbers are increasing. Three people have died from the wildfires so far. The smoke is stagnant and the sky is a thick dusty hot orange color. Like snow in the summertime, the ash coats the top of cars, houses, and the ground with cool embers from miles away. The haze is eerily warm, the winds have died down (thank you Lord!), and information is changing rapidly. 

I realized after the nearby spark that I was not prepared to leave at a moments notice. I did not have a bag of clothes, medicines, important papers, and must have items (like a radio, power cords and water) ready to go. But I do now and it did take me some time to get it together (more than the 1 or 2 minutes of warning you would have in an evacuation). No matter where you live or what the natural disaster, be prepared… it just might save your life. For a list of items, visit: 

 

 

 

I’ll include some photos of my area. To all who have emailed me so far, thank you so much for your concern and prayers. Your prayers make the difference in what happens here and keeping us safe. The Lord is in control, always, no matter in the calm or the chaos. 

Clear skies with ominous approaching smoke clouds - Tues. 5pm
Wildfire smoke blanketing entire sky - Wed 6pm
Same location one hour later - Tues. 6pm
Smoke clouds on an otherwise clear sky day - 6pm

Update 9/11/20: As of this morning, more than 500,000 people have been forced to evacuate from wildfire areas. That’s 10% of Oregon’s population. The nearby Powerline fire that is close to me has been downgraded and is not as much of a threat. Visibility where I am is less than 1/4 mile and the sky is thick and brown. However, the Riverside Fire in Clackamas County, close to Portland, has merged with the Beachie Creek Fire forming one large, very hot fire that is continuing to move towards populated areas. 

9/12/20: Still the same amount of smoke here although it looks a little more white rather than brown. I’ll take that as a good sign. Below is the most current map (as of today) of the wildfires approaching the Portland Metro Area. The two fires, Beachie Creek and Riverside, and expected to merge today.

9/13/20: The air quality is still very bad here and the smoke is lingering. Some evacuation restrictions were lifted late last night to a Level 1 Evacuation status near Canby, Oregon City, and Sandy. All good news but we’re not out the woods yet! Much needed rain is supposed to arrive Monday night. 

I’ve received many emails with thoughts and prayers. Thank you to everyone who has prayed for the people of Oregon, for me, and the entire west coast. The Lord hears your prayers and delivers (Ps 34:17) and He has kept us and many others safe from much calamity.

9/16/20: The wildfires are still burning but they seem to be staying put for the most part. Most of them have no containment yet. The latest word is that more than 1,100 homes have been destroyed and about 1 million acres have been burned just in Oregon. The death toll is also rising as missing person cases turn into confirmed remains. Many areas received word today that the evacuation levels were lowered so people could return to their homes. The air quality is still hazardous but a thunderstorm is moving in Thursday evening which will help push out the thick smoke to the east. Two days of showers are to follow which will be a much welcomed relief. 

9/17/20: Thunderstorms have begin zipping through our area bringing much needed rain. They are also bringing lightening strikes and peels of thunder. If some areas get a good dumping of rain, this may cause landslide issues where the forest and trees and been heavily burned. Most of the thunderstorms are keeping to the west side of Oregon. As I write this at 8:15pm, there’s rolling thunder on a regular basis following lightening strikes. Praying for no more fires to start. 

9/20/20: After several days of rain from thunderstorms, (thankfully no new fires were started from lightning strikes) the suffocating wildfire smoke that has covered the entire region for over a week is finally driven out. We can see blue skies again!

Before: Thick, heavy wildfire smoke. Visibility 1/4 mile.
Before: Smoky, dirty brown air.
After: Blue skies! Aircraft are flying.
After: We can see the hills in the distance again.

One Response

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

7 + 7 =