Last week we had a freak lightning storm at 3:00 AM. I started packing at 3:30 because I knew what was next. You see, I live in Southern Oregon where we have extreme fire danger starting this time of year. All around me in every direction is miles of forest. (Well, was...)
I had my personal belongings packed into my studio by noon, and went to help friends pack until dinner time. Then, three of us dropped my yurt and packed it in my van in 38 minutes.
Since then, I've been with the residents of the Sanctuary, living in a makeshift refugee camp on a friend's farm 30 miles away. Even here, the air is so thick with smoke that we can't really go outside. Last I heard, over 25,000 acres had burned.
Everyone is safe. There are thousands of firefighters, many of them "hotshots" who specialize in this kind of situation. They've got the best training and the best equipment behind them.
I'll know more after the town meeting tonight.
Here are some pics from this last week...
First hint of fire, about a mile from Cloud Nine, my place in the woods.
Later that day, from the Sanctuary. See the notch in the ridge to the right? That's from the Sugarloaf Ridge fire of 2001.
Yurt, before and after packing.
The animals are freaked out and will not be disturbed from eating, even by a human with a camera. I think they know that they'll need to run.
For the next few days we watched the fires advance toward our homes.
The fire behind Cloud Nine came within a quarter mile, but they caught it at the ridge. This photo was shot from the steps to my platform.
We went back a few times to retrieve more items of historical importance for the Sanctuary. On the last trip, the fires were burning on the ridge, but we couldn't see them because of the smoke. The National Guard soon closed the road to let the fire crews have it and to prevent looting.
Here's an ironic photo from Grants Pass, the town where we're taking refuge. It is not altered. The whole town looks sepia-toned right now.
And what about my business? Well,
I've been working extra hard to build up inventory for my next shows. I've got enough for the next two, but need to make some decisions pretty quickly here about what's next. I'll know more after the town meeting tonight. Here are some options that I have...
1. Go to Portland and weave on a friend's loom for a few weeks.
2. Rent a studio in an upwind town for a few months and just bring a batch of weaving or two.
3. Move my whole studio somewhere else for a while longer.
I'll let y'all know what I'm doing as soon as I do.