September 8, 2012 while the Highway 141 fire near White Salmon was beginning to wind down, a Lightning storm swept through the area and started at least 40 wildfires in Washington and another large amount in Oregon. Some of the fires were put out quickly, but others like the one on the south side of Mount Adams 9 miles out of Trout Lake continues to grow. Smoke fills the valley making it hard on locals with allergies and asthma.
Most of this fire is in the Wilderness area, and much of what is burning is dead diseased trees that have accumulated in recent years creating a dangerous situation. In reality the fire, while deadly to slower moving wildlife, will in the long run provide a much needed cleansing in the forests. When we thought we were saving the trees by stopping all forest fires and cutting in our wildernesses, we actually created a tinderbox waiting to burn! In the natural scheme of things, fires caused by lightning provided an important function in the Wilderness, clearing out diseases and pests, opening up space for new growth, and in the case of Lodgepole Pine providing the catalyst needed to open the cones and prepare the seeds for growing. Sadly, at this point things have gone too far and now a fire causes a great deal more harm on the way to creating good!
In any case, We have an awesome crew of Fire personnel at work in Trout Lake and the forest hard at work in containing the fire and keeping Trout Lake Valley safe. I slept in my tent near the airfield for a couple days at my brother Roger’s place, and the sound of the helicopters coming and going was actually comforting, knowing they were working to protect us.
This first image was on the first evening of the fire, in Trout Lake at the School.
The inciweb site below is updated daily, and an afternoon update today had some good news about the cars trapped by the fire. Unfortunately a few days ago 2 of the cars left at Morrison Creek camp were torched… another one had melted paint and such and a 4th was untouched.
todays update in part:
“1700 Hr Update: 10 cars were brought down from the South Climb trailhead to a safety zone where they will not be burned. Increased fire activity prevented moving them all the way down. Chances are good that they can be brought down to base camp tomorrow. The fire was active today, but no major runs.
FIRE STATUS & RESOURCES
Sunday, September 16, 2012
Acres Burned: 6,467
Total Personnel: 578
Serious Injuries: None
Water Tenders: 14