A Red Sky
Two and a half years later, her voice still haunts me. From the other side of the fence, I hear her yell at her children as they play in the backyard. It’s a sunny day, and my wife and I are riding our bikes on a path that runs right beside this family’s home. We are enjoying a weekend vacation in Ashland, four hours south of our own home in Salem, Oregon. A blissful afternoon, we are all unaware that, just two days later, a fire will race up the path we’re riding on. It will level this entire neighborhood to the ground, including the mobile home we just passed, with the door that just clacked shut. Whole communities in several towns will be completely wiped out by just one fire – one of the many fires about to explode across our state. This particular fire, the Almeda fire, will consume 2,600 homes and three lives. Throughout the 2020 wildfire season in Oregon, at least twenty-one fires will each burn more than a thousand acres or cause significant structural damage or death. Over a million acres will burn, 40,000 people will be evacuated, and at least eleven people will be killed.
On Loss (May 2023)