The War Zone – Central Oregon

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Driving through Central Oregon today felt like a war zone. From what I read on the National Weather Service site, there was an excess of dry fuel available that had the potential to be started by the scattered thunderstorms passing thru the region. There was a constant stream of fire fighting vehicles on the highway going in both directions. There were Incident Outposts set up on the roadside and firefighters everywhere were on alert, waiting for the next flair up. I talk to a fellow traveler at a gas station who was going in the opposite direction who said he couldn’t get his family home because they closed the highway going south. No time for fishing today. This was a serious situation and my best option was to leave the area and head north to my next destination.

Now that I’m sitting in my tent with Mt Hood on the horizon, I’m feeling much safer. The fire danger in Northern Oregon is rated at High which is a comfort knowing that it’s not extream like the war zone to the south. The rivers up here are much higher too and the pastures looked greener. I can only hope that when I cross into Southern Washington in a couple of days, it will be more of the same.

As for the photo: I’m not sure how this fire started but I knew at first glance it was the defining image for my travels today. I took this from roadside after that first sighting with a long lens. I tried to get closer to the blaze but the police had already blocked off the area to non-essential people. I didn’t press it, I just moved on and let these brave men and women do their jobs.


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Terry Schmidbauer:


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