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Fire - and now RAIN

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    Fire - and now RAIN

    Those who have been through it, I have a newfound empathy with you. Right now, I just need some extra shoulders because I am in shock.

    Got a phone call late evening that there was a fire at a lumber yard near my barn, and BO was making plans to evacuate. That will get you out of bed in a hurry. I've lived here nearly my entire life and there's never been anything more than a small 'dust fire' at the mill. This time, the entire thing is on fire. Giant log piles, finished lumber, all of it.
    There's a barn directly across the street from some of the log stacks - I don't know if they are still standing or not. There's another one down on a different corner.

    The winds & smoke yesterday were horrid, because of fires in Eastern/Central Oregon area, and picking up steam as the day went on. My understanding is it took down power lines (there were trees down, so not a surprise).

    This morning there are fires in all directions from me. Some are awfully close, some a touch further, but all the same every time I turn around there's a new fire that popped up and took off, and I just don't know how firefighters are supposed to keep up with this. We will be damn lucky if there aren't further evacuations.

    I live in the Willamette Valley, not an area you associate with "lots of fires". In fact yesterday morning everything was fine, a friend and I went trail riding in the morning and everything was as normal. By 3 pm, the haze was in the air, the wind had picked up, by 5 you could barely see the sun.

    I am SO DAMN GRATEFUL that my mare loads well. When your owner walks in at 11 pm, throws a halter on you and straight into a trailer and you go, no questions asked, you are a rockstar. There are several at the barn who don't load, or who haven't been loaded in years. That sucked.


    Everything smells like smoke, strong smoke. In the house even. The winds were so strong it ripped the top off our gazebo. It turned over a large potted tree I have. The front yard, looks like fall hit already there are so many leaves blown out of the big tree. It blew over 2 neighbors BB hoops. I've lived here thru some strong storms and not seen that happen.

    My thoughts are scattered and disjointed right now, so if I make no sense, oh well. Thanks for listening.
    Last edited by Obsidian Fire; Sep. 18, 2020, 09:34 AM.

    That sounds terrifying. I hope all is well and humans and horses are safe.


      Yes, teach those horses to load. I still remember helping my friends run their yearlings into a stock trailer as a grass fire was bearing down on the farm. Poor babies had never been in a trailer before, but we got it done.

      Glad you were able to get your mare moved safely, and jingles for everyone near this conflagration.


        So glad to hear you got out safely. Give that mare some extra carrots today.


          That's horrendous OP. My thoughts are with you, your good mare and everyone in the area. Fingers xx for some rain!
          One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.
          William Shakespeare


            Very scary even reading about it, glad you got out. I hope for rain and cooler weather in all the areas with fires.


              I'm glad you were able to get out. People are scrambling down here on the west side of the pass trying to evacuate. It's 8:45am and still pretty much dark as night here in Independence, just with a reddish tint to everything.

              I'm not near any of the fires, thankfully, but I know lots of people who are. I hope everyone makes it out ok. They've shut down the highway in, only letting people out now.


                Original Poster

                Heinz 57 make sure you have a plan in place. Just in case. There are several fires your way.


                  OP I'm so sorry and hope everyone gets out safely!
                  "Some people will never like you because your spirit irritates their demons"


                    It's horrible, and I wouldn't wish it on anybody. Friend of mine just got let back in to her home in Felton CA, after a week evacuated. And she didn't have animals to move. She was lucky -- the house still stands. Not everyone is that lucky.

                    I know it's a shock: be kind, be generous, particularly if you are not facing losses. It's so hard on folks.


                      I'm so sorry. We've been living that for at least 3 weeks. I along with so many others are starting to hate Fall, fire season, in California. The tension is wearing. The smoke and heat make life outside miserable and if you don't have an air conditioner, the inside is pretty bad too. Glad to hear your mare was awesome. Extra cookies for her! Hope things settle down quickly but it sounds like all 3 states along the West Coast are getting hit. Hang in there and stay safe!


                        Originally posted by Obsidian Fire View Post
                        Heinz 57 make sure you have a plan in place. Just in case. There are several fires your way.
                        The nearest fire to us currently is over in Otis, which is about 35 miles west in the coast range. Unless something new sparks up, of course. We're southwest of Salem and across the river from the canyon fires.

                        Its an unfortunate thing that I don't have a trailer at the moment, but I have a list of people I can call on, and a long list of barns with open doors. Several of my friends have spent the morning running back and forth helping move horses out of the danger zones.


                          So glad you are ok, and thank your good training and trust that your mare loads easily!

                          Here in Northern California it seems like a matter of if not now, when. My cars are packed, as ready as can be. Today it was dark at 3:30pm from smoke.

                          We just finished a plan for the stable. Most horses seem to load into slant load trailers. Two of us have straight loads. Our horses jump right in, but we’re going to work with the other 12(!) who don’t load in the straight loads, Because you never know who you have time to save.

                          So make sure horses will load in as many variations as possible! Let other people practice loading your horse too. And this time of year an easy mane tag with name could save time later.
                          "Do your best, and leave the rest, twill all come right, some day or night" -Black Beauty



                            OP, so happy you got your horse out safely! I am two hours south of you near the fire on the McKenzie. We can't go outside because the air quality is hazardous. The towns of Blue River and Vida have been destroyed. People have perished. There has been an amazing response by the horse community. Anyone with space is taking horses, a trailer dealer is pitching in to haul, and vets are ready to help.

                            Like you said, it happened so fast! A powerline started the fire last night around 9:00 and now the fire is 34,000 acres. It's heading toward Springfield. My phone and the TV are blowing up with alerts. Never in my 32 years here have I experienced anything like this. it's awful.
                            Last edited by sparkygrace; Sep. 8, 2020, 09:22 PM.


                              I feel for all of you. Please get out sooner rather than later.

                              The Cameron Peak fire in Colorado is the one nearest me. It won't affect my area accept for smoke and ash, but it went from 60 thousand acres to over 100 thousand on Sunday/Monday. Monday the sky was orange here, ash was falling and it was 95 degrees. Today it is snowing and our low tonight is forecast to be 27 degrees.

                              The snow in the mountains where the fire is burning will help, but it wont put the fire out. As soon as the precipitation ends and the fuel (trees) dries out it will continue to spread. Unfortunately fire retardant drops from aircraft are not an option in many areas as they would contaminate essential watersheds.

                              It is difficult for the firefighters to go from summer firefighting to winter firefighting, and COVID has made their needs, and the logistics of evacuations and housing all the more difficult. There have already been several firefighters that have tested positive for the virus with symptoms.

                              This fire started in a very inaccessible wilderness area but has spread and is now threatening mountain communities. Thankfully, because of that, people and firefighters have had time to prepare before the mandatory evacuations were issued. Thankfully we have a County Sheriffs "posse" that is comprised of officers that are very experienced in evacuating livestock, so they go in for the livestock that are left (for whatever reasons), after the mandatory evacuation of humans.

                              If at all possible, it might be a good idea to get your bad loaders out now to save time if you have to evacuate. It really is essential to get out immediately as soon as you are told to evacuate.

                              Thinking of you all. Please stay safe and keep in touch.



                                Original Poster

                                We have a son in CO, skydy so yes I’ve been hearing about the wicked weather swings and fires.

                                We did have to evacuate our home this evening. The police came around checking on people (not everyone gets the alerts) and advised us to leave. We packed quickly bare bones necessities and are at my in-laws for now, hoping we don’t have to go further. Also hoping I don’t have to move my horse again in the middle of the night.

                                I am exhausted. All day today it was one new fire after another, quickly moving out of control. And not just in “one” area - it is all around me. I could describe it as sitting in the middle of a horseshoe, really only one direction doesn’t have an out of control fire right now.

                                I’ve never seen or been a part of anything like this ever in my life. Barns evacuated last night only to have to go again today.

                                I don’t have words for any of this.


                                  Originally posted by Obsidian Fire View Post
                                  We have a son in CO, skydy so yes I’ve been hearing about the wicked weather swings and fires.

                                  We did have to evacuate our home this evening. The police came around checking on people (not everyone gets the alerts) and advised us to leave. We packed quickly bare bones necessities and are at my in-laws for now, hoping we don’t have to go further. Also hoping I don’t have to move my horse again in the middle of the night.

                                  I am exhausted. All day today it was one new fire after another, quickly moving out of control. And not just in “one” area - it is all around me. I could describe it as sitting in the middle of a horseshoe, really only one direction doesn’t have an out of control fire right now.

                                  I’ve never seen or been a part of anything like this ever in my life. Barns evacuated last night only to have to go again today.

                                  I don’t have words for any of this.
                                  I understand the helpless feeling, I really do. I've been there.

                                  Fire is truly frightening. What are the authorities in your area advising? I am not familiar with where you are now and where the fires are that are around you. The authorities usually give you timely warning (a "voluntary evacuation") if they do, then leave . Don't wait for a mandatory evacuation. That means LEAVE NOW and don't stop to get your coat, so as difficult as it is, it may be better for your peace of mind to leave the area now. If not, you must be ready to leave at once. They try to be accurate but some people do get angry if they are made to evacuate and the fire did not in fact reach their home.

                                  I am so sorry, I can feel your worry and confusion. Don't panic but listen to your instincts and do what makes you feel safe. I am of the "get out of Dodge" mentality when there is a hint that I should leave, where wildfire is concerned. Again, listen to your local fire authorities, look at the fire maps and the weather forecast and have your escape routes planned.

                                  It's a scary unknown, but you can deal with it. Take some deep breaths, plan ahead, and then get some sleep. My best wishes and comforting thoughts are sent to you.

                                  You can do this. Be informed and be prepared. You can have a good cry later, when you have come through this safely.


                                    So glad that you and your mare, and the other horses, are all right!

                                    I'm so worried about everyone in the western states affected by fires. I have friends in Oregon, Colorado, and California. They're all in hazard zones and I'm on edge, afraid for them.

                                    Please, all COTHers, I care about you as well. Stay safe!
                                    I loff my Quarter horse clique

                                    I kill threads dead!


                                      Oh wow. The Bear Fire in Northern California has blown up like crazy. Oregon is a shocker. The entire city of Medford is either under evacuation warning or order. Then Eugene and Salem areas. . California is expected to have fires but Oregon usually avoids these conflagrations. Washington is also getting hit.

                                      Glad you were able to safely evacuate. I'll be thinking of you and your family.


                                        Fire is so scary - and I am glad that, for the moment, you are safe. It was watching people try to load horses to escape fires in Australia last summer that prompted me to teach one of my feral horses to load - that then lead to some amazing work with her, and a whole new level of relationship between me and her.