On September 2nd a teenager from out of state started a forest fire in OUR Columbia Gorge. The trigger for this fire was fireworks thrown into Devil’s Punch bowl. Big laughs and a bigger booms for these idiots with nothing better to do than terrorize the families and hikers on the Eagle Creek Trail. They got more than they bargained for with that one act of stupidity. Thousands of acres burned. Hundreds of lives on the line fighting and running from the flames. Thousands of dollars spent to fight the fire. Thousands more to repair the damage. Hundreds of thousands in lost revenue due to the closure of I-84.
I took a trip down the Columbia Gorge shortly after they reopened I-84 eastbound. I saw the beginnings of recovery. It’s not the total wasteland we were afraid it would be. The Earth has a way to recover that is nothing short of awe-inspiring.
The Earth has been around for 4,600,000,000 years. Humans have been here for about 200,000 years. Sorry, Creationists, that’s a fact. The Earth has been warming and cooling over and over again for all that time. Sorry, Climate Change People, that’s a fact, too. Are we so arrogant of a species that we actually think the Earth needs our help? It seemed to do pretty well through the Ice Ages and the dinosaur fart induced global warmings in the past. I have a feeling when the Earth gets what it wants from us it’ll shake us off its back like a dog shaking off a flea.
And if you think I’m wrong and the Earth needs us to survive? Just take a drive through the Columbia River Gorge. The Earth is whoopin’ ass and takin’ names! It’s letting us know that there is hope beyond the flames.
~ A quick update on the Eagle Creek fire. The total acreage burned was close to 50,000 acres. The financial impact is still being assessed. Businesses have either closed or are close to shuttering in the gorge communities of Cascade Locks and eastward.
The 15 year old that is responsible for this destruction was sentenced today to 1920 hours of community service with the Forest Service and 3-5 years of probation.
In this writer’s opinion it was a slap on the wrist for the obliteration of a natural treasure, the harm to countless lives and the disruption of commerce in the Columbia Gorge.