Columbia River Gorge on Fire

Columbia River Gorge on Fire

From the eerily red sky, tiny remnants of our beautiful state and national park fall as ash (like pieces of memories that can never be re-lived) with more than 33,000 acres on fire. My heart is heavy with sadness and grief, as we witness this tragedy unfold; and our precious national treasure and historic landmarks consumed before our very eyes.

For those who don’t know… this is not just another forest fire. To Oregon, the Gorge is our Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Yellowstone, Glacier or Everglades. Its vast forests, trees, wildlife, trails and uncountable waterfalls are an enormous part of our state and national park.   We grieve and mourn over this devastation because the Gorge is far more than a forest, it’s a part of us, our livelihood, our recreation, our home, our sanctuary and our hearts.

There is far more to this tragedy than just a fire. Of course, Portland is a Port; where ships cross the Pacific Ocean bringing goods and commerce to the Pacific NW and beyond. Interstate 84 is completely shut down for 50 miles (50 miles!), as fire burns to the road on both sides. This is the main thoroughfare for trucks moving commerce to and from Portland but also to and from the inland NW of the United States. Not only the interstate but the river itself is a major commerce mover, as large ships pickup and deliver goods, yet even the river has been closed, with no commerce getting through.

Sadly this is only the beginning of a very long tragedy and recovery. Our rainy season will be upon us far before the vegetation can reestablish itself, very likely resulting in massive mudslides and flooding all winter long. These events have the power to change the course of a river, move a waterfall or bury roads.

Let us not forget that each of these beautiful trees, across our massive forests, produce and purify oxygen. The very air we breathe is not only affected now from the fires, smoke, and falling ash but will continue to affect our near future.

Knowing Oregon, we will unite, replant and reforest. Thankfully our forests, trees, and vegetation grow extremely fast here. There will be a beautiful, lush green, thriving forest again. But for today our hearts are heavy; sadness, like ash, fills the air and we grieve over the loss of what we hold so precious.

Please pray with me for everyone affected, evacuated, physically and financially impacted or devastated by this horrific tragedy, and let us all pray together for rain.

 

Eagle Creek Fire - Sept 5, 2017 by Tristan Fortsch

Photo by Tristan Fortsch.

 

 

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