[guest post by Dana]
Unbearable.. I am undone just reading about it:
Chris Tofte blew past the blockade, his green Jeep Cherokee aimed for the bowels of the raging Beachie Creek fire.
It was around 4 a.m. Tuesday morning, and he was desperately searching for his wife, son and mother-in-law. The family lived 4½ miles up North Fork Road SE, about 10 minutes from Lyons and 30 minutes from Salem.
[I]n the Jeep, struggling to navigate a road once so familiar but now shrouded by smoke-filled darkness, Chris almost ran over what looked like a bikini-clad woman on the road. Once he was closer, he realized she was wearing underwear. Her hair was singed, her mouth looked almost black, and her bare feet were severely burned.
He impatiently tried to help her into his car, explaining how he needed to find his wife and son, feeling like she was resisting.
Finally, she spoke. “I am your wife.”
The ongoing fires in Oregon have burned more than one million acres.
California’s fires have burned 3,354,234 acres, or roughly more than 3% of the estimated 100 million acres of land in the state.
In the state of Washington, more than 500,000 acres have burned.
I have loved ones in both Oregon and Washington who are all keeping a wary eye out as the fires draw closer to them. My Oregon family sent photos this past week, and in every one of the dystopian-like images, the sky is nothing but a strange, burnt orange backdrop silhouetting the still-standing forest below. I swear you can almost feel the heavy thickness of the polluted air just by looking at the images. In much of California, the skies are a dull orange/gray and the smoke and falling ash make it unhealthful to be outside except for the briefest of trips.
Everyone can do something to help: Here you can read about the most effective ways to help those who have had to evacuate and/or have lost their homes in the fires. While the report specifically refers to California, the information is clearly applicable to Oregon and Washington as well. And of course, we are all able to offer prayers on behalf of so many, like Chris Tofte and his wife, whose very hearts and lives will never be the same again.