Monday, September 3, 2007

Black Butte Ranch/GW Fire

On Friday morning Jake and I headed to Black Butte Ranch in Central Oregon with my Mom. Mike followed later in the day after work. My Dad flew into the Redmond airport via S.F. airport from San Diego. Amy and Tyler had driven over on Wednesday. We were looking forward to a great weekend!

When my Mom and I arrived at the ranch, I noticed some smoke coming up from the base of Mt. Washington. Turns out that it was a fire started by a lightening strike the night before and it grew bigger as Friday became Saturday. Saturday the ranch was on evacuation alert (level 2 out of 3) and we could see huge plumes of smoke but we were able to go about our activities. Saturday night we all went to dinner and on the way to dinner I took these pictures.
The sun was a blood red color shining through the smoke.
Blurry but kind of cool picture.
The top of Black Butte was obscured by the smoke.
Looking towards the North and Middle Sisters mountains. The fire was to the right in the picture.

There was a wedding reception happening on the lawn while the fire and smoke was happening in the background.

We were in the lodge having dinner.
Mike's cool-looking green apple salad.
Grandma and Jake. Notice the outline of the smoke in the background.
Mike and Lee.
Amy and Tyler.
Lee and Dad.
Sunday -- we went for a walk. Amy decided to push Jake in the stroller for part of our walk. It was a beautiful day.
But the fire was still there...

The big brown plumes of smoke meant that the fire was burning trees infested with bark beetles, a bonus of the fire.

The smoke cleared briefly for a view of Mt. Washington.
Mike and Jake on the walk.
Later Jake decides he wants to sweep pine needles off a friend's deck. We also said goodbye to Amy and Tyler as they left for Portland to catch a flight back to NYC on Monday.
Monday - we had a new couch delivered. Jake liked it immediately.
Aww this is comfortable!!
I liked it, too!
Around noon we found out that Black Butte Ranch was closing down ALL of its operations at 2pm. I quickly packed all of our stuff in bags and then Mike, Jake, and I raced to the pool at 12:30 so we could get in some sun and fun time and wear Jake out. We left the pool at 1:45, got home, changed into our clothes, and had lunch with my parents. Around 2:30, right when we were finishing lunch we heard the hi-low sirens and looked at each other and jumped up to leave. It took Mike, Jake, and myself about 10 minutes to gather all our bags and pack the cooler and head out. We had been planning to leave around 4, so just a little earlier than expected. My parents, however, had been planning to stay until Tuesday evening, and other friends of ours, Dianne and John, had been planning to stay until Saturday (we saw them packing their car on our way out)! Bummer.

By the main entrance to the ranch -- all the emergency crew.
Looking across the Big Meadow we couldn't see anything but smoke. Normally there is a view of Mt. Washington and 3 other mountains from this meadow.
Evacuation plans call for those leaving BBR to turn right towards Sisters, and away from Portland so that you are forced to go the long way home through Redmond. We got lucky, though, and were able to turn left to go the short way home. My parents, who left about 10 minutes after we did, were not so lucky!
The sign says it all.
Jake fell asleep about 5 minutes after getting on the highway.
Views of the fire from the road going up the Santiam Pass.
Mt. Washington is on the right, in between the trees. The smoke is blowing towards Black Butte.

Mt. Washington.
We could see very active smoke here and knew we were looking at the base of the fire.
Otherwise it was a BEAUTIFUL day. That's Three-Fingered Jack in the picture.
Mt. Jefferson, on the ride home.
Mt. Jefferson.
The clouds as we approached Salem.
Jake was so happy to be home and the cats were glad we were home, too.

For updates on the fire, click here.

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