Let's talk about wildfires
The past four days have been tragic and heartbreaking, to say the least. By all accounts so far, what started as a reckless teenage decision to ignore burn bans and fireworks has spread into a raging, uncontained wildfire which has consumed over 10,000 acres in the Eagle Creek area of the Columbia River Gorge.
It's been a particularly dry summer, and I definitely don't discount all the other wildfires that have been going on, but this one really hits home for me.
I lived in Portland for about two years and only moved up to Seattle from there a month ago. It was in the Columbia River Gorge that I fell in love with the misty, lush green Pacific Northwest. It's where I learned to not only survive but really appreciate the overcast winter months while living in Portland.
Like so many others, Multnomah Falls was one of the first hikes I did when I moved out to Portland. And today, it's being consumed by the fires and firefighters are struggling to keep the historic lodge safe. The nearby Oneota Tunnel has already been lost to the fire earlier today.
This Eagle Creek Fire as of tonight, the fourth night of the fire, is still at zero percent containment and is continuing to spread. It has forced the rescue of 140 stranded hikers, poor air quality, towns being evacuated, school closures, pets and livestock lost, the early release of 600,000 salmon from the Cascade Hatchery, the loss of historic structures, major road closures, and the destruction of our beloved trails in the Gorge that drew so many visitors to the area. And this was just from one of many wildfires going on in the area. All this destruction caused by one act of disregard for the rules set in place.
It's not my place to pass judgment on whoever caused this incident. I'm deeply upset, saddened, angry, and heartbroken. But if anything, I hope this devastation will have opened people's hearts to be more mindful and aware of how our tiniest actions can have an enormous lasting impact on the nature that surrounds us, and that we raise our future generations to respectful as well.
The wildfires are still going in the Pacific Northwest, with hundreds of thousands of acres being engulfed in flames. We are fortunate to have our first responders battle these and protect us. Please consider making a financial decision to an organization to help with wildfire relief.