Tag: Wildfires

Sweet Lorane Community News, September 10, 2020

Fern Ridge Review
Creswell Chronicle
Sweet Lorane Community News
September 10, 2020
By Pat Edwards

Oregon’s on fire. My heart and my mind are so focused on the terrible fires that are taking so many homes, businesses—and, most probably, the lives of our neighbors in Lane County— that it’s difficult to know how to express my thoughts and anguish… and fears.

People have awakened themselves to the fact that we are all in this together. Whether or not we are categorized for evacuation, we all carry the burden of what is happening. Each of us most likely knows others who have had to evacuate their homes, and many of us know some who have actually lost not only their homes, but so much more, as well.

One close friend and extended family member posted this sentiment on Facebook as she and her husband were leaving their home in the Mohawk Valley: “We are evacuating!! Level 2! God is good!… It’s just stuff!”

Another friend’s “significant other” who lives in the Sweet Home area, has had to evacuate his horses and pets… and himself… under Level 3, but he keeps trying to return to evacuate more of his life that he can’t bear to leave behind, saying “I’ve worked my whole life for what I have!” He’s no longer allowed to try.

The morning after the Holiday Farm Fire broke out near Blue River, we were informed that those fighting the fire in those early hours feared that the McKenzie High School was lost overnight. The fire was bearing down on it as they took measures to protect it as best they could. It became my focal point—my biggest connection to the area that was, and is, on fire. The thought that it had burned brought the horror of it all home to me and I cried for those I knew who were suffering. Memories of spending many many years in the stands at the tiny, old McKenzie gymnasium watching our kids from Crow High School—the Cougars—compete against the Eagles, flooded in. Added to them were the memories of our grandkids, as Cougars, playing the Eagles in their beautiful new gymnasium in which the Blue River community took so much pride.

For me, those “memory pictures” put a face on the reality of the horror being faced all over our state. Visualizing its loss and knowing that it could have easily been our community that was being destroyed brought more tears. Fortunately, we have since heard that the measures taken by those firefighters that morning were successful, and the school still stands. From what I’ve heard, however, few buildings in the town were as fortunate. I saw a photo of a beautiful church on fire in Blue River and the skeletons of cars and foundations of houses that mark where homes once stood. They bring the real horror of it all to life.

Right now, each of us must offer whatever we can—shelter, sanctuary and transportation for the evacuees and their pets and livestock; supplies and help for the firefighters on the front line; food, clothing, personal and household items, ice chests, bedding… Prayers. “There, but for the grace of God, go I…”

Weather forecasts predict that winds are now abating and there’s a possibility of rain early next week. If those happen, it will be a godsend, but… will it be in time to provide the much-needed help our brave men and women on the front lines need to gain control over these wildfires? The answer to that remains to be seen. In the meantime, we pray to whatever version of God we have chosen, help in whatever way we can, and work to help ensure this never happens again, if at all possible.

Thank you to all of those who are risking their lives and health by fighting these fires. In my opinion, you have already earned your place in heaven.

Sweet Lorane Community News, August 23, 2018

Fern Ridge Review
Creswell Chronicle
Sweet Lorane Community News
August 23, 2018
By Pat Edwards

Where did August go? Can anyone tell me how it rushed by so quickly? Kids are getting ready to head back to school, our coaching family members are already into daily doubles with their teams and the UO Ducks are talking about their first home game. Despite the heat during the day, I’ve been feeling a bit of fall in the air in the early mornings, too. I’m not looking forward to the winter rains, but a heavy rain right now would be nice to clear the air of the awful smoke we’ve been breathing and maybe turn the tide on the containment of so many wildfires burning throughout the west. It would be especially nice to be able to mow lawns again, too.

For our family, there’s a lot to look forward to this fall and winter… and spring. We have three great-grandbabies on the way—one in October, one in early December and the third in the spring. That is so exciting for all of us!

I’ve had a tradition of making felt Christmas stockings for each of our grandchildren and, now, great-grandchildren, so I really have my work cut out for me this year. I use the kits which force me to carefully follow directions—cutting out all sizes and colors of felt pieces, embroidering and sequining many of them, and then stuffing and appliqueing them in layers to make brightly-colored keepsake stockings. Because I usually only work on them in the evenings while keeping Jim company in the TV room, each one usually takes me about 3 months to complete. So, I’ve got to hustle this year. Fortunately, October’s is just about done.

Jim and I spent a really nice day at the coast this past week. We don’t frequently get out just to do something spontaneous without having a specific destination in mind. His mobility is such that he’s not comfortable walking on the beach or taking hikes on scenic trails, and he never wants to go shopping or to movies, so we’re a bit limited in what we can do for short “adventures.” Besides, Jim has always been a bit of a party-pooper when it comes to agreeing to do impromptu things that I consider fun. We usually end up at one of the nearby casinos to spend an hour or two, either leaving what we plan to spend or actually bringing home a bit more than we took.

Now that I’ve begun taking on most of our driving duties, though, I feel a bit liberated in where we go and what we do when we get there. This week, we sailed right on past Three Rivers and I headed for Driftwood Shores on Heceta Beach where we have stayed quite often in our younger years. Since neither of us had yet had lunch, so we stopped at the Surfside and sat, while waiting for our order, and watched the dozens of people on the beach… walking or playing fetch with their dogs, flying kites which seemed to be taking a lot of nose-dives that day, building sand castles and just enjoying a somewhat cool and windy day at the coast. The service that day was actually awful… long waits for food… but it gave us an opportunity to relax, talk and enjoy the two hours we were there.
Our next stop was going to be at Sand Dune Frontier to play some miniature golf or maybe even take a sand dune buggy ride, but we decided to leave those for our next trip when it was not quite so windy and a bit warmer.

Our short stay at Three Rivers on the way home lasted only about an hour and a half and we both were able to make the $20 that we had each decided to spend, grow considerably.

I loved the fact that multiple times—on the way home, that evening, and the next day—Jim mentioned over and over what a good time we had…


Sweet Lorane Community News, September 7, 2017

Fern Ridge Review
Creswell Chronicle
Sweet Lorane Community News
September 7, 2017
By Pat Edwards

I hope that by the time you read this, you can see the hills off in the distance and smell the scent of roses in the air instead of squinting into the smoke-filled air and breathing in unhealthy particulates from the dozens of forest fires burning throughout the West.
Today on Facebook, someone posted a collage of photographs. The first showed a brilliant red picture of a wildfire out of control with the inscription, “Pray for Washington.” Three more pictures in the collage had a similar theme of forests burning – “Pray for Oregon… Montana… California…” A fourth picture showed a city under water with the caption, “Pray for Texas,” and the sixth one depicted a weather map showing a massive storm system bearing down on Florida… and yes, the caption read, “Pray for Florida.” It seems that we all are at the mercy of Mother Nature right now.

Today brought a little relief to the air quality, at least. A few raindrops descended and freshened the air a bit, but what we really need now is a hard rain that will dampen the forests enough to slow down the fires.

It has been heartwarming to hear of strangers across the county offering to take in evacuated livestock and pets from the McKenzie River area so their owners, who have had to move from their homes, can concentrate on the safety and well-being of their families until they can return. The thoughts on everyone’s minds during this time is, “It could be us.”

Labor Day 2017 is in the books; school has started; gardens are being harvested; and football and volleyball seasons have begun. That means that fall is on it’s way. Let’s all send those prayers as a plea for a very early and wet autumn so people can return to their homes and gather their families and pets around them once again in safety. It could be us!