Posted by Rick:
Itchy eyes, scratchy throat, tight chest, headaches, and the smell of smoke. That is what we have been dealing with here for the past 4 days at the Tillamook Elks RV Park. We are not alone as I know all up and down the West Coast there are so many forest fires burning.
It all started 5 days ago here when the weather reports were predicting rare high winds coming out of the east. With us being on the Oregon coast right now we are used to the normal windy days. But usually it comes from the west or north. Also a normal day is winds in the single digits and gusts hitting the mid teens. This time we were getting sustained winds of 15-20 mph and gusts up to 50-60 mph.
Our big mistake on the first night was we tried to leave our shade tent/camp kitchen out overnight but lowered it down and staked on all corners. We also anchored it to the picnic table. That’s not going anywhere, right. Well it held, but not without injury to the sides of the tent. Jenn barely slept that night as she spent most of the time watching out the window. She got me up and out of bed at 2:oo am to find the camp stove and table knocked over and the tent getting battered. We used more tie downs from the tent to the picnic table. The three sidewalls that we had on all had tears near the zippers where they were zipped together. Nothing that can’t get fixed.
Day two we got everything put away knowing the winds were going to continue. It got so gusty that we chose to put in the whole wall slide on the coach as it was rocking us a bit and the slide topper was rather noisy and we didn’t want to have it damaged. I little tighter inside but we managed.
The days started to look apocalyptic outside. We would have times where it looked orange to bright yellow depending where the sun was in the sky. Oh to have blue skies again…
We have been keeping in touch with our children and family that lives over in the valley closer to the fires here in Oregon. That first night, Jenn was up and was keeping in touch with one of our nieces. Our nieces brother and father had driven up into the evacuation zone to get her grandparents and animals out of Blue River where their home was. There were many hours of no communication with them and worries mounted. With the help of fire fighters and a very long night and morning we were informed of their safety. The bad news was that the home and their life’s possessions in Blue River had been lost to the fire. It doesn’t sound like any structures up there made it through the fire.
We are just dealing with the smoke here thank goodness. We have looked at different options for roads to leave the area as some highways have closed due to other fires. We have about 10 more days here at the coast and then we head back hopefully to the valley and by then all should be back to normal. Or as normal as it can be. Till then we spend as little time as possible outside keeping out of the smoke. Lizzie certainly doesn’t like her fewer and shorter walks but she will get through it as we are. We did get a new flag to display in front of the RV when we’re parked.
We would like to end this with a shout out of thanks to the brave and heroic firefighters that put their lives on the line to protect us the as much as they can. Also to all of the people behind the scenes helping the evacuated people with shelter, food, clothing, and other needs. Pretty amazing seeing all of this coming together, everyone helping in others needs. Our thoughts and prayers go out to all of those who lost their homes and all of their possessions and especially to those who lost their lives and to the families of those.