Refugee from Cedar Creek Fire

Grizabella

Member
Messages
54
I was happily painting away a couple days ago, having just gotten back to painting after a year or so of covid-related "long haul" stuff when suddenly the Cedar Creek fire here in Oregon changed my plans. I live in the midst of the Willamette National Forest surrounded by almost two million acres of wilderness in an RV park. It's so beautiful there. But then lightning struck and started a fire in a ravine firefighters couldn't get down into to try to control it. It's been burning for a month with firefighters only being able to keep it away from the town of Oakridge. Suddenly a wind change occurred and blew it our way with 50 mph winds. Yesterday morning we started out at level 1 evacuation alert, within a few hours, went to level two and by around dinnertime went to level 3. I'm now sleeping on my grand-daughter's couch till we can go back to our home. Hopefully that will be soon. The wind shifted again so now it's blowing away from us again.

For those who might not know, the way the evacuation alerts are organized, level one is "ready", level 2 is "set", level 3 is "go", meaning level one is keep your eyes and ears on the news, level two is pack some essentials in case you have to leave, and level 3 is get the hell out of Dodge and don't even put on your flip-flops or try to take clean underwear.

Well, at level one, I packed up my stuff I couldn't leave----mostly my art supplies. o_O I had my daughter put the stuff in her truck and here I am at my grand-daughters. I did bring a nightgown, toothbrush and change of underwear, but mostly my "stuff" is my watercolor stuff. I'm enamored with watercolor and with a little windfall when my aunt passed a couple years ago, I bought a supply of things like Schminckes, Sennelier, Rosa Gallery and White Nights and real hair brushes, 100% cotton watercolor blocks, some sketchbooks----I'm going to be 77 in November and I wasn't about to leave that stuff behind because I'll never be able to replace it and I'm so in love with learning watercolor painting. I'm not very good at it yet but I just can't quit trying. I have the ability to see the ludicrous in myself, so I hope some of you will get a chuckle out of my tale. I can see the humor in it now. Here is this old lady without much in the way of really sensible stuff, but by cracky, I'm well set for art supplies. :cool: I'll just hang out on this couch and paint till I can go back home. I'm optimistic that I'll have a home to go to because today the wind went back to blowing away from where I live and it isn't threatening the RV park right now. Normally winds from the east are not the norm for the area where I live so the fact that the wind has gone back to the normal pattern for the area and not the east, chances are good that it will settle down with the cooler weather forecast for next week so we can just go settle back into our forest home safely.
 

ntl

Contributing Member
Messages
1,153
Oh, my... I can't imagine that as being less than terrifying. I'm glad you're safe and got your art supplies out, too.
Gotta keep priorities straight after all! :giggle: I do hope your homes are safe and livable. So now you have some new scenery to sketch/paint, till you get back home, as well as family to enjoy. Take care, be safe.
 

Donna T

Well-known member
Messages
1,551
I sure hope that all will be well with your home and you can safely return - and put all your art supplies back where they belong. It's really smokey where I am outside of Boise and I think some of your smoke may be part of it although there was mention of smoke from California too. Usually I can see the foothills from where I live but it's just a wall of gray at the moment. Hoping for the best for you!
 

Grizabella

Member
Messages
54
Thank you for your comments of positive support. I really appreciate it.

As of this morning, the fire is 0% contained, to my disappointment, but at least the wind has died down a lot and shifted to the direction that blows the fire away from Oakridge and Westfir. I live closer to Westfir. Oakridge is 4 miles on from us toward the fire and the firefighters are working around the clock to try to protect the town. We won't be allowed back till containment is established enough for them to consider it safe from more wind shifting that causes fire growth.
 

Enyaw

namuh
Messages
4,293
You are very lucky to have gotten a notice. Some don't. I do hope you get back to your place sooner than later.
 

Jo Castillo

Contributing Member
Messages
1,669
Thinking of you in this trying time. Your safety is the most important thing. Take care.
 

Artyczar

Moderator
Messages
9,131
How terrifying! Please keep us informed, if you can. Thinking of you with thoughts and prayers. ♥️
 

Grizabella

Member
Messages
54
Well, thanks to a wind direction change, we were able to come back home last Monday. And the weather took a turn for the cooler and wetter. too, so as I sit here listening to the rain on my roof, I'm so glad things are safe here again. I love living here in the deep woods in the mountains but it's not without its peril sometimes.

The first winter I was here we had a big snow storm with trees coming down on some of the people's RV's and homes here and we were cut off from town without power for a week or so because so much timber had fallen on the one road we have in and out. A tree came down onto the full length of my next door neighbor's camp trailer during the night and a branch came through her roof, landing right by her head and scaring both of us terribly. Then last year we had a level 2 alert with a forest fire near us, but this year's level 3 has been the worst. I hope we don't have that again. We never know because we have thunder and lightning up here quite often and the lightning sets the fires off. I'm kind of a Pollyanna type but this level 3 really set my jaw on edge, I have to say.
 

Rich53

Active member
Messages
90
Wow! I'm glad your home was not damaged! 😊👍 Are your art supplies happy to be back? 😉

Take care,
--Rich
 

Donna T

Well-known member
Messages
1,551
I'm glad this story had a happy ending. Hopefully you won't have another scare like that!
 

Terri

Moderator
Messages
2,068
So happy you are safely back home, Grizabella! It sounds like an adventure you'd rather *not* have, but I agree that with Mother Nature, you can never predict. It sounds beautiful out there!

Happy painting! Stay safe. ❤️
 

bethany

Active member
Messages
51
Glad to read that you are now safe home. I can relate as we lived through the terrible bushfires in the beginning of 2020 (Australia). I didn't worry about my art supplies when I evacuated- but wasn't very practical with what I packed either! Stayed with my daughter in a city 4 hours away so luckily I could buy the underwear.
 

Lia

Active member
Messages
20
I just read your forest fire story because I identify so much. I'm south of you in Happy Camp, California, about 20 miles from the Oregon border. Two years ago in September we had a forest fire fueled by wind. A tree fell and hit an electric pole early in the morning of September 8, 2020. The fire took out 200 homes. It moved six miles in only 2 hours.

We didn't have much time to get out. My home burned plus my son's and my daughter's. I was in a hotel room in Yreka for 2 months and now live back on my property in a borrowed travel trailer.

Like you, my first thought was to take my art supplies! I totally understand. I've transformed my little travel trailer dining table into an art desk so I have a place to paint in my journals.

I'm so happy to hear your home didn't burn. It is a l-o-n-g recovery to get over a forest fire. Our fire burned 200 homes but so far less than 10 of those have been replaced.

Every summer, since then, we've had evacuation warnings here. Our warnings would be like your level 2... time to pack. It is terrible to have to pack up everything once a year! I lived in this community for quite a few years and never had fire problems like the last three years.

Like you, I love living in a forest - but the forest fires recently are a huge concern.
 

Grizabella

Member
Messages
54
My heart goes out to you, Lia! You sound like a kindred spirit, too. The art supplies feed the soul and nourish it, don't they? Just about anything else can easily be replaced but the art supplies can't. At least for me. I'm 76 years old and all my life I've been on a tight budget, always having to provide for the necessities as a single mom of 4 and later as a widowed grandmother raising grandchildren. I couldn't ever really afford art supplies. I did oil paintings in the 70's for extra money to help raise the kids but then it was kind of an art wasteland for quite a few years. I finally got some supplies, as I mentioned in the post, and now that's just my treasure. I could wear a potato sack and live on granola, but my art supplies are dear to me.

I'm not even very good at watercolor. :ROFLMAO: But I keep on hanging in there with it. I prefer it to oils because there's less mess. I wasn't too bad with oils but watercolor has been quite a challenge. I've been having to re-learn some of the watercolor skills because my covid "long haul" kept me from painting for a year or so.

I'm living in an RV too----a fifth wheel my son provided for me to live in. I just pay space rent and that includes utilities. I keep thinking I'll arrange things a little differently so I have more room for painting but my energy level isn't quite up to that yet. Right now I have three folding tables lined up next to my futon to hold my painting stuff. As long as I have this set up, I can paint without too much annoyance. It's not Martha Stewart but it works. :cool:

Coming back to add that I put a sign on my wall that says "Welcome to Camp Quitcherbitchin. A certified happy camper area." So we both share a Happy Camp in a way. Another something in common, huh?
 

Artyczar

Moderator
Messages
9,131
I feel for you all. I recently made a "fire box list" in case of evacuation warnings. I've been working on making a few bins to be able to take with us in case of this, or rather, whenever it eventually happens here. I'm making one of small basic art supplies and all my original artist's books. The rest of my art and belongings can burn. We'd also take our hard drives and guitars. That's about it. It wouldn't take more than ten minutes.
 
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