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Sunday, September 13, 2020

Meanwhile at the end of the world

 Oregon has caught on fire. We had a 100 degree heatwave followed by wind and 13 percent humidity.  

It was one of those 100 year events I suppose. Lots of people expected this to happen. 30 years ago Oregon stopped doing actual forest management. Once the environmentalists figured they could make money fundraising the plight of various supposedly endangered species there has been no such thing as a longterm sustainable forests program. Every timber sale for insect damaged timber is met with a lawsuit. You can't build roads, local timber companies sold out to national companies who replanted and moved on to the other side of the country where trees are planted in rows.

Plus, fire department don't really put out fires anymore. They follow lots of rules and procedures designed to prevent personal injury insurance claims or liability claims and should a fire actually get put out that is a real bonus. I mean really, it's all insure isn't it?

So when fires started popping up all over the state it turned into a major emergency. At first people listened to the authorities and evacuated. However, it seems that you actually want to save your community and you are not faced with 35 mph flames, you and a few neighbors are better off evacuating the family but a few people who are not on a fire department and bound by procedure, staying behind with water trucks and shovels and bulldozers.  AND most importantly, keep quiet about it. The law of the 21st century is "shoot, shovel, and shut up." You could replace shoot with drive a bulldozer. If there is a lot of smoke they can't record you with an airplane.

I find it pretty interesting to hear what is going on from people involved in firefighting or law enforcement as opposed to what is on the news. People are going back into level three evacuation zones and looting. There may be more going on than that. Perhaps fires set to cover crimes or just random crazies? Procedure over performance and if you do take a risk that may save a life you will lose your job. Just as the former Oregon State Fire Marshal.

It might rain Monday. We did that. Hopefully someone will thank us. When it looked like a week of 40 mph wind and 12 percent humidity we cut alfalfa. Oregon may burn but we were going to have the best alfalfa ever. With the wind came clouds and high humidity and now that it is time to bale we are expected to have rain. The rain will coincide with the point where the Alfalfa is ready to bale. Probably will rain Wednesday. It would have been Monday but I restacked damaged straw piles instead of fluffing the hay Saturday.

The smoke rolls in... I took this picture when I got home from work Monday. The fires were with in 40 miles. On fire was in the hills above my daughter's college. She could see the fire from her dorm room.
This is the view near sunset looking towards Muddy Valley. (sort of)
This is the view after the fellow who came to haul the straw stacks had a few problems loading the stacks. I spent Saturday pulling the bales into rows and restacking them.

I'm not sure how this facebook link will work. It is too a local news story about lack of resources. You need to look a the comments. Several logging and construction companies have offered help. It has been turned down. A firefighter's wife states that untrained people are a liability. That is the mentality and it is BS. You don't need to be a firefighter to drive a bulldozer and make a firebreak. Or drive a water truck. Ten minutes of instruction and you are fine. Plus, loggers have to put out their own fires. Probably know more about fighting fire in the woods than a city firefighter any day.


  1. It's always so aggravating to have to pay for OTHER people's sins.

  2. I'm a member of a volunteer urban interface fire department. Our chief is not afraid of fire, but he is very afraid of lawyers. We can get pretty short handed and I'd love to let the people in the neighborhood help us out sometimes; chief is worried about a lawsuit if someone gets hurt. I'd probably get kicked off the department, or at least removed from service for a while if I let a neighbor help. I'm covered under the departments insurance, the neighbor is not. I guess membership does have it's privileges....
    I guess what I'm trying to say is, some of the firefighters don't like the rules either.

    1. I have heard plenty of stories from firefighters. The rules and liability make it impossible to get anything done in the modern world.


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