Like so many have already stated, my heart is hurting today for the extraordinary loss caused by such extreme carelessness. The entire Columbia River Gorge has gone up in flames because a 15-year-old boy and his friends set off fireworks in the forest. Other hikers allegedly begged and pleaded with the kids to stop, but it did not matter.
I am so angry. I am so sad. Most of all, I am confused. I just don’t understand the kind of mentality that disregards the safety of other hikers or the complete lack of respect for your own home. The gorge is our backyard.
I am praying for the safety of everyone helping to fight this fire. I’m so sorry you have to be there, but I’m grateful for the work you’re doing.
KPTV’s Mark Nelsen posted an encouraging update earlier today:
I know it’s a bit early, but I see headlines already showing up along the lines of “THE GORGE WILL NEVER BE THE SAME”. I think that’s too dramatic. How many of you knew a similar (but smaller) fire churned between Multnomah Falls and Angel’s Rest 26 years ago this month? You can’t even see the effects now except for a few silver (burned & dead) trees sticking out. Two things will happen 1) Most likely there will be unburned green trees mixed in with burned trees & 2) This is a rain forest, so next spring the ground cover and lowest shrubs will be green again surrounded by silvery/burned trunks of dead trees. Then new Douglas Firs will sprout and within 10 years they could be 15-20 feet tall! Nature heals quickly in a wet place.
Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen at KPTV FOX 12
While I am tentatively hopeful, the destruction of our beautiful backyard is just another lesson (one that I’ve learned many times) that nothing in life is guaranteed. Don’t take for granted all of the gifts we are given and take care of them while you can.