Facebook reminded me this morning that 2 years ago today, we were at the Timberline Lodge at Mount Hood, preparing to hike down and through the Eagle Creek alternate to the banks of the Columbia River. The section was one of the most beautiful of the entire trail, and today, like much of the lower Columbia River Gorge it's engulfed in flames.
We were also preparing today to put out a post about The Rendezvous, a music and outdoor festival that our friends at Outdoor Arts and Recreation are planning for September 22 - 24 in the Methow Valley, WA. We're holding off on that post (you'll still see it in some form or another), because multiple fire complexes are raging in that area as well, and while the festival location is currently unaffected, their sister organization, Rainshadow Running, sent out an email yesterday saying that fires might force a postponement.
The situation ranges from terrifying for the people whose houses and livelihoods sit in the path of the fires, to a huge bummer for people who love the region. Like Harvey, Irma and other natural disasters, a big part of the response is waiting and hoping for the best in a situation that we can't control.
But for people who want to do something concrete, in lieu of our post about The Rendezvous, it seems appropriate to draw your attention to some resources about the fires:
Sarah Gentzler from the Outdoor Women's Alliance posted this really helpful article in The Evergrey yesterday providing background on what's happening with the fires. The title is Seattle-centric (The Evergrey is a Seattle-focused blog) but the article has great information on the overall situation.
And Rainshadow Running emailed out this fantastic list of resources yesterday, which offers options for support specific to each fire complex in the region. The following are excerpts from their email:
Eagle Creek Fire- Columbia River Gorge
Friends of the Columbia River Gorge is a non-profit organization dedicated to the conversation of the Gorge. They are responsible for securing the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area Act in 1986 and now with over 6,000 members, they continue the conservation efforts year round. You can donate at any time, but currently they are accepting donations for the Hood River County Search and Rescue for their efforts in rescuing over 140 hikers when the fire broke out. 100% of the proceeds go directly to these heroes.
For more information and ways to donate/help the Friends of the Columbia River Gorge, please click here.
Click here to read a great article about ways to help, but also about things not to do at this point. It also has information about local businesses helping those being evacuated.
Diamond Creek Fire - North Central WA
The Methow Conservancy has been working to help the land and the people of the Methow Valley recover from the devastating fires of 2014 and 2015 as well as prepare for current and future fires. Their mission, to inspire people to care for and conserve the land of the Methow Valley, ensuring it will remain a place where future generations can enjoy the rural character and natural beauty we cherish today, is critical year round fires or not.
Consider becoming a member to help further this important work.
Jolly Mountain Fire/Norse Peak Fire
The Jolly Mountain fire has been burning since August 11th in the Central Cascades of Washington (Cle Elum area) and has grown to over 18,000 acres. A level 3 evacuation is in place for much of the area and a Red Cross shelter has been set up in Cle Elum for nearby residents affected by the evacuation. If you donate to the Red Cross, you can choose to send your donation to where it is needed most or to your local Red Cross chapter. Or if you would like to send the donation to a specific incident, you can mail in your donation. Directions are on their website:
Click here to donate to Red Cross
The Norse Peak Fire, which also started August 11st due to lightning, is burning just north of Mt. Rainier on the east side of the Pacific Crest Trail and as of today has grown to almost 20,000 acres.
Click here to support the Pacific Crest Trail Association
The Nature Conservancy
The Nature Conservancy is the world's leading conservation non-profit organization and staffs 65 members in the state of Washington alone. They purchased over 47,000 acres of forest in Kittitas County (where the Jolly Mountain fire is spreading) for the purpose of safeguarding clean water, wildlife habitat and outdoor recreation.
Click here to read about conservation efforts in Washington
Click here to donate to The Nature Conservancy
Volunteer Your Time
Much of the fire relief efforts right now are out of our hands and we can only hope for the safety of the firefighters and those being evacuated. However, many organizations need volunteers year round to help with efforts to rebuild and prevention. Volunteer opportunities include trail work, planting trees, manning a fire lookout, help managing campgrounds, and help with events and projects to educate the community on the conservation of our lands.
Here are a few other organizations to check out:
United States Forest Service
Washington Trails Association