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Fire Recovery series 1-5

Fire Recovery series 1-5

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Overview

  • Handmade item
  • Favorited by: 3 people
  • Gift message available
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Description

This is a series of five postcards with short essays, addressed and sent from post offices in the Columbia Gorge, one per week. The first postcard will be available to be mailed on December 24, 2018. The photos only show images from completed first postcard; the others will also include integrated text and essays as delivered.

In early September 2017, in the Eagle Creek Canyon of the Columbia Gorge, a forest fire was set off by a child -- a boy of 15 -- throwing a firework over the side of a trail. Below him, minutes later, the forest started smoking. Within a week the fire was burning over tens of thousands of acres.

I was there in the Gorge when the fire began, about 15 miles away. I saw it only a few minutes after the firework was thrown, in the sky in the distance. I thought it was an explosion; and I thought it was much closer than it was.

The forest was dry and full of tinder, after a very wet winter and an early start to our dry season. It had been too many decades since the last large wildfire had moved through this area. Before European Americans settled here in the 1800s, the people who lived here would set regular fires to clear brush. The forest itself would start its own fire every 20 or 30 years. This is how forests have adapted; this is how many animals have thrived prior to such heavy human hands. Prior to timber foresting with its clearcuts that call themselves "sustainable" because they replant trees; before the forest were managed by a government whose chief interest is resource extraction.

Before the Forest Service began farming trees for the betterment of timber barons, we had fire as part of the cycle of life. We had mountain goats. We had thimbleberries and salmon berries, we had camas and lilies.

The fire was complicated and emotional. No human life was taken in this fire; many mourned as if it was. I watched the posts of friends. “The Gorge is gone forever,” one said. “We will never see the Gorge again,” another said.

The gorge is an 80-mile canyon whose basalt walls were laid 15 million years ago; the floods that made its steep sides so dramatic killed everything in their path, filled the Willamette River Valley like an inland sea. This happened over 80 times.

The Gorge is here and is very alive. I am interested in the forest’s recovery. Already, 15 months later, thimbleberries crowd the slopes under blackened trees. Tiger lilies catch the sun, a backdrop of charcoal trunks.

This series of postcards tells the story of how the fires from my perspective -- a tour guide who spends much of her life in the areas affected. The cards will be sent one per week, from post offices in the place where the fires occurred.

The series will continue indefinitely. The process of recovery is slow.
This is a series of five postcards with short essays, addressed and sent from post offices in the Columbia Gorge, one per week. The first postcard will be available to be mailed on December 24, 2018. The photos only show images from completed first postcard; the others will also include integrated text and essays as delivered.

In early September 2017, in the Eagle Creek Canyon of the Columbia Gorge, a forest fire was set off by a child -- a boy of 15 -- throwing a firework over the side of a trail. Below him, minutes later, the forest started smoking. Within a week the fire was burning over tens of thousands of acres.

I was there in the Gorge when the fire began, about 15 miles away. I saw it only a few minutes after the firework was thrown, in the sky in the distance. I thought it was an explosion; and I thought it was much closer than it was.

The forest was dry and full of tinder, after a very wet winter and an early start to our dry season. It had been too many decades since the last large wildfire had moved through this area. Before European Americans settled here in the 1800s, the people who lived here would set regular fires to clear brush. The forest itself would start its own fire every 20 or 30 years. This is how forests have adapted; this is how many animals have thrived prior to such heavy human hands. Prior to timber foresting with its clearcuts that call themselves "sustainable" because they replant trees; before the forest were managed by a government whose chief interest is resource extraction.

Before the Forest Service began farming trees for the betterment of timber barons, we had fire as part of the cycle of life. We had mountain goats. We had thimbleberries and salmon berries, we had camas and lilies.

The fire was complicated and emotional. No human life was taken in this fire; many mourned as if it was. I watched the posts of friends. “The Gorge is gone forever,” one said. “We will never see the Gorge again,” another said.

The gorge is an 80-mile canyon whose basalt walls were laid 15 million years ago; the floods that made its steep sides so dramatic killed everything in their path, filled the Willamette River Valley like an inland sea. This happened over 80 times.

The Gorge is here and is very alive. I am interested in the forest’s recovery. Already, 15 months later, thimbleberries crowd the slopes under blackened trees. Tiger lilies catch the sun, a backdrop of charcoal trunks.

This series of postcards tells the story of how the fires from my perspective -- a tour guide who spends much of her life in the areas affected. The cards will be sent one per week, from post offices in the place where the fires occurred.

The series will continue indefinitely. The process of recovery is slow.

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cafemama made this item with help from

  • Edwin Skaug, Portland, OR
cafemama made this item with help from:
  • Edwin Skaug, Portland, OR

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