US West Coast fire check-in September 10, 2020 6:31 PM   Subscribe

I know that *lots* of MeFites live in areas that are currently under threat, and some of you likely have already had to evacuate. I wanted to create a space for folks to check in, share stories, grieve together, perhaps offer crash space to evacuees, and just commiserate about the latest shovelful of shit that 2020 has dumped on our heads.
posted by Kat Allison to MetaFilter-Related at 6:31 PM (42 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

I just checked the evacuation maps, and realized that the north edge of the "Be ready (prepare to evacuate") zone is just about eight miles south of me (I'm in NE Portland). So--bug-out bag packed, cat carriers brought in, deep breaths being taken (followed by hacking coughs from the damned smoke).
posted by Kat Allison at 6:33 PM on September 10 [3 favorites]


Friends of friends/co-workers in Portland Fire Bureau say they don't think there's any reason to be worried about direct fire risk within Portland city limits or close-in neighboring cities (Milwaukie, Gresham). Lot more available water, lot less open brush. That said, the air quality is worst-in-the-world right now amongst major cities, and Eugene is even worse, to say nothing of southern Oregon, or parts of the coast.

Detroit is pretty much gone, Talent and Phoenix in the Medford area have lost a lot of homes, Estacada has been abandoned and by tomorrow probably Molalla. Oregon City and Sandy are under level 2 "Get ready" stage. Lincoln City was evac'd yesterday but pictures from this afternoon show everything still intact.

If you're in Portland metro and need filters for your HVAC or box fan, check the smaller True Value/ACE/etc stores and make sure you're looking at a high enough rating on your filters (should be a little icon for smoke if it's high enough, 11/1100 rating is what you want). Fred Meyer, Walmart, Lowes/Home Depot are likely to be out.

(this isn't even getting into the I-don't-use-this-word-lightly crazy "anti-antifa" people threatening press with guns and the conspiracy theories running wild)

There's rain in the forecast for Monday/Tuesday, and the worst of the wind is supposed to be over by tonight, but air quality will be really bad for many days.

That's just Oregon, I guess California and Idaho and lots of other places are also in awful awful shape! Everyone please be safe.
posted by curious nu at 6:57 PM on September 10 [13 favorites]


I'm about 5 miles from stage 3 mandatory evacuation. But I'm (just barely) on the mult co side, so apparently we are still stage 0.

My father is in a hospital in clackamas county though, thankfully still stage 1. But right on the edge of stage 2.

Meanwhile, my family's farm is all stage 3 mandatory evac. They haven't evacuated though - they are going to try to hold the line with water trucks. Both my uncle and aunt are retired firefighters - he's up in the hills and she's running fire response on the farm.

I tried to get to the farm today and had to turn around in Hubbard. Visibility dropped to about 100 feet and I was just plain too scared.
posted by weed donkey at 9:48 PM on September 10 [10 favorites]


Also to put this into context for Mefites not from around here

Right now over 10% of Oregon's population is under evacuation.
posted by weed donkey at 9:59 PM on September 10 [15 favorites]


I'm in SE Portland about a mile from the Clackamas county border. We've just finished getting documents, important keepsakes, and clothing together in case the fires continue creeping closer.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 10:16 PM on September 10 [2 favorites]


This is literally an apocalypse.
posted by aniola at 10:29 PM on September 10 [1 favorite]


lol some serious neighborposting here. im in clackamas in the stage 1 zone and its extremely weird here but "chill" (????/??/) aside from bad smoke and - whats weirdest for me - you can stand outside and feel radiant heat from the south

the evacuation lines jumped up while i was dropping off supplies at a mutual aid spot so that was comical

friends and relatives in eastern clackamas and down in marion county are all ok, im a little preemptively worried about stubborn marion county relatives who might try and ride it out but we'll see

ive had 'cheeseburger in paradise' stuck in my head for two days and im not sure if that is related but i'm tired of this year
posted by nixon's meatloaf at 11:14 PM on September 10 [5 favorites]


All we are getting here right now is bad (and worsening) smoke, which is terrible but not nearly as bad as what many people are dealing with. I've spent time in some of the towns that have been destroyed and the photos and stories are so distressing to see. Best wishes to everyone who is having to live with evacuations and other direct impacts.
posted by Dip Flash at 7:29 AM on September 11 [2 favorites]


We're in SE, but I grew up in Oregon City/Gladstone; almost everyone I knew as a kid has been displaced (lots of them moved further out, instead of further in to Portland).

The Portland NWS twitter feed is a really good resources for level headed information right now. Whoever's running that feed is doing a great job balancing useful information, clarifying misinformation, and not over or under reacting.

The good news is that the worst (weather) is behind us; the winds are dying down and the marine layer coming off the coast will start to push the smoke out in the next few days. This should allow the state to get the fires under control.

We don't have any room to put anyone up, but if any locals need a safe place to park and hook up water/electrical to a camper or something similar, hit me up.
posted by furnace.heart at 7:58 AM on September 11 [3 favorites]


On the off chance this is helpful to anyone (and hopefully it isn't): What to do if it's too late to evacuate from wildfires. I can't vouch for the accuracy but I found the post and comments educational. Stay safe, everyone.
posted by randomnity at 8:46 AM on September 11 [4 favorites]


SoCal: for anyone who's in that "evacuation warning" area around Bobcat (or any other fires that crop up) that's been hovering in the stay-or-go zone for days and days, we don't have very good human crash space right now but we've got some storage space and parking if you want to move a car, store sentimentals, or stash evac supplies. We're in north SFV pretty near the highways but south of 118 and the fire-prone foothills areas.
posted by Lyn Never at 9:04 AM on September 11 [2 favorites]


ive had 'cheeseburger in paradise' stuck in my head for two days and im not sure if that is related but i'm tired of this year

What I wouldn't give to be at the Island Cafe with nice weather right now....
posted by weed donkey at 10:16 AM on September 11


Saw this posted this morning: Playing music in the ashes of your southern Oregon home.
posted by klausman at 10:22 AM on September 11 [1 favorite]


The smoke is really rolling into Seattle, now. I stepped outside for a few minutes to take some PM2.5 and PM10 readings, and I'm getting 200 and 310 ug/m3, resp. — bordering hazardous. Stay indoors, the air outside is no good.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 12:40 PM on September 11 [3 favorites]


I have space if needed. Some friends south-southeast of Molalla (L3 of course - just 5ish miles to both the riverside and beachie creek fires) evac’d on Tuesday with all their mammalian animals, but they aren’t staying with me. The chickens, like the farm itself, are TBD.
posted by janell at 1:13 PM on September 11 [1 favorite]


I have a tiny camper in my Astoria driveway that is open to evacuees and their pets, or, well, one evacuee or two extremely close and not large evacuees. It is indeed tiny and the AC doesn’t work. But it’s here. I would be happy to deliver it to a campsite at Fort Stevens if you can get one and then the AC would work because 30 amp hookup. The smoke is here too - we’re rocking about 175 at the moment - but we have been spared the fires, so, if you need to get out, come on down.
posted by mygothlaundry at 2:02 PM on September 11 [4 favorites]


I'm in SE PDX and have spare bedrooms if evacuees need them. The tool library is also delivering a limited number of valved N95s to folks who have to work outside, if that's you.
posted by momus_window at 2:56 PM on September 11


Greater Portland metro - westside edition looks like this....
posted by Lynsey at 3:12 PM on September 11 [2 favorites]


East Bay here. We're actually getting some sunshine today but air quality still in the purple. So not going outside anytime soon unless absolutely necessary.
posted by The Ardship of Cambry at 3:36 PM on September 11


I'm in SE Portland, a few blocks north of the Level 1 zone, and the AQI is a "mere" 277 currently. It was 350-something when I was awake panicking at 3AM.
posted by medeine at 3:49 PM on September 11


Here are some pictures of smoky Astoria so yeah, we’re not that much better than inland but still, sometimes every little bit helps!
posted by mygothlaundry at 4:14 PM on September 11 [1 favorite]


Corvallis hasn’t been evacuated, thankfully. We do have some of the most hazardous air in the US right now. Everything is covered in ash outside, and a lot of it has found its way into my garage as well. The outdoors is very eerie - typically we see dozens of people walking by the house each day, many of them with dogs, rain or shine. Since Monday evening, though, almost no one has been out. Apocalypse is the right word!

The university here is asking us instructors to make accommodations for students working as firefighters, or who have been evacuated or lost their homes. Tragedy upon tragedy... as if the pandemic hadn’t already made it difficult to attend college and get work done.
posted by Knowyournuts at 4:56 PM on September 11 [2 favorites]


I'm in NW Portland, about 24 miles from Canby which looks like the edge of the evacuation zone. My mom just called me from New Hampshire freaking out from watching the news. I think I talked her down by promising that I would pack a ditch bag and get a battery for my car tomorrow so it will run again. I'm also listening to the PDX police/fire scanner.

I too have an available couch and a pretty big apartment - any Mefite is welcome to stay with me.

The smoke is really thick here. I've been sneezing with itchy eyes for the last couple days.

I'm worried about lazuli who lives near Marin and some friends who live in Fort Bragg.

If we get told to evacuate I'll probably take the train to Seattle where my favorite cousin lives.

Stay safe everyone. I'm off to email everyone.
posted by bendy at 7:08 PM on September 11 [1 favorite]


Last weekend I was camping in Six Rivers National Forest, near Ruth, north-west of the Hopkins fire. There was a clear blue sky Monday evening, no smoke in the air. But overnight the wind shifted and really picked up in intensity, pushing the fire toward me. Tuesday morning the sky was black. Not the red/orange sky people were seeing in the bay area, but a black sky with a thin halo of light along the horizon. And it was blowing ashes. Not just white flakes, but blackened pine needles and partially burnt leaves.

I packed up my stuff and quickly made my way down the mountain. I got to the paved road in the valley and headed north. A mile or two later I hit a CAL FIRE roadblock—from the wrong direction. Chatting with the fire crew, it sounded like I was the last one off the mountain.

My campsite burned later that day.
posted by ryanrs at 10:07 PM on September 11 [12 favorites]


I've got a fair amount of family in Medford and the PNW. As far as I know they are ok, but that's only been through a few FB updates that my AU SiL living with me has seen. Sill concerned about them.
posted by michswiss at 6:40 AM on September 12


I'm a little closer to the Bobcat fire than Lyn Never (but still outside of current danger/evac zones). If you're evacuating from Monrovia or somewhere near and need storage space or a place to park a car, get in touch.
posted by carsonb at 8:32 AM on September 12


This may sound petty, given the incredible loss of life, forest and personal property happening right now, but I am feeling some thankfulness that we took time to enjoy paddling on the Estacada reservoir and the north fork this year (20 min from our house). We got some beat-up paddle boards at the start of summer and oh was it a nice way to escape crowds (except on those few 95-degree days). I hope people are able to return there without fear of unstable, burnt trees.
posted by klausman at 8:35 AM on September 12


Mathowie - remember him? He used to hang out here occasionally - posted this video on how to DIY an air purifier on Twitter this morning. I think I’m going to make one; it’s well within my skill set and it’s got to help.
posted by mygothlaundry at 11:59 AM on September 12 [3 favorites]


lmao my box fan air filters have fudgy nicotine brown circles on them, i hate this
posted by nixon's meatloaf at 12:40 PM on September 12 [1 favorite]


also the complete breakdown in civil discourse means every post by fire agencies/sheriffs has about a zillion people screeching about how antifa set the fires and why won't cops do anything about it and it's fucking horrifying, our county is burning up but let's make sure to keep hitting the dime store john birch ass nonsense. i hate this also. it's so creepy and extreme.
posted by nixon's meatloaf at 1:04 PM on September 12 [7 favorites]


It's because chuds listening to police scanners keep hearing cops talking about BLM wrt the fires. They're idiots and don't realize BLM is Bureau of Land Management.
posted by ryanrs at 1:15 PM on September 12 [18 favorites]


We are in Eugene-were in Central Oregon all week for vacation. My oldest daughter joined us and came back to her home in Vida, up the McKenzie. Monday night-her boyfriend returned early from elk hunting that day. At midnight, high winds blew a tree on one of their cars-she called me, they loaded up themselves and their cat and headed to our house. At 4:30 am on Tuesday, their neighbors fled as everything in the direction of my kid’s house was ablaze.

So, we are all ok. We have resources to help her and we are all together. We have AC at our house and inside things aren’t bad. We are drinking raspberry lemon drops before dinner and watching Clue. We are pretending that it’s a rainy day and we are being cozy inside.

But every once in a while it hits me. If that tree hadn’t fallen on their car would they have stayed? My kid is 23 and just getting her life so together and now she lost all her stuff. They were renters and had insurance but things like her Christmas ornaments from when she was little...

This is why I lost my absolute shit with a nice Christian childhood friend who is posting Antifa conspiracy theories from another state. Just fuck them.
posted by purenitrous at 6:07 PM on September 12 [17 favorites]


I'm near the Bobcat fire, though still a ways away in Pasadena. The air quality is vile. I'm running two air purifiers at the same time and I think I am going to have to change the filters on both after just a week of use. Portland, Seattle, and Vancouver Mefites: I am sending you endless prayers for rain and clear skies again.

Purenitrous, I am so glad your daughter, her boyfriend, and her cat are okay.
posted by Kitchen Witch at 6:23 PM on September 12 [3 favorites]


Yesterday we packed evac bags, which it looks like we won't have to use. Which is great.

But today I feel like I got run over by a car. I think it's one cataclysm too many for my nervous system. I want to stay in bed forever. I'm so sorry for all the people and plants and animals that have been hurt by the fires. It's just fucking awful.
posted by hungrytiger at 6:37 PM on September 12 [6 favorites]


My heart breaks for everyone affected. I have co-workers in the Bay area, and the stories from the last week were just unbelievable.

Just outside Vancouver (BC) the air is also horrible. It's hard to breathe, everyone has a sore throat, and it smells like an ashtray. I see our air quality numbers marked as "very unhealthy" while looking at the haze outside, then see Portland area numbers that are literally double ours and I can't even fathom. Pre-covid I could make the drive to Portland in 5 hours, so it's not a far-off land, it's an easy day's drive away. Ya'll are our neighbours, covid and politics be damned sometimes. Stay safe West Coast extended mefite family and friends.
posted by cgg at 9:12 PM on September 12 [3 favorites]


I'm near the Bobcat fire too, I know people living in the potential evac area. Please reach out if you need storage space/food/water/dog things if evacuations happen.

Family in the Bay Area have sent awful photos and it looks similar here with thick gray or eerie orange skies all day every day this week. Stay inside as much as possible and stay safe everyone!
posted by Red Desk at 11:03 PM on September 12


It was very weird to feel a measure of relief this morning when, on waking, the world was in a deep grey fog instead of the now-familiar less-deep yellow smokiness. That evaporated as it was bound to do as the day wore one, and it's been the same sickly yellow as the last few days. But it was something.
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:39 PM on September 13 [5 favorites]


bendy, lazuli is ok (we're FB friends and have gotten together occasionally IRL).

Happy to report that both I and a climate activist friend have had people say to us, "Hey the orange sky's freaking me out. You're always going on about climate. Tell me what I can do" -- so I'm crossing my fingers that all this will peel more people off the denial/indifference wagon.

Sending supportive thoughts to y'all out there.
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 7:37 PM on September 13 [1 favorite]


bendy, lazuli is ok (we're FB friends and have gotten together occasionally IRL).

Thanks ci! I texted her that night and she told me the same.
posted by bendy at 4:15 PM on September 14


My area just put out the CZU fire. Haven't left the house in two weeks.
posted by saveyoursanity at 9:24 PM on September 14


evac lines keep getting drawn back which is rad, air is still poison, everything smells like wet ashes, relations safe in marion county, some of relations' friends lost everything

i grew up in a flood zone and i'm feeling a little ill at ease knowing that peoples' needs will go on long after the attention has moved on from this event. steeling myself to support people during the long haul
posted by nixon's meatloaf at 10:09 AM on September 17


MEANWHILE, on the East Coast - the very first day back at the middle-school here in my little New England seaside town - TWO LIKELY CORONA CASES AMONG THE STUDENTS. The second day? TWO MORE!

We made the decision to keep our kid home, because we are fortunate and could afford to, and I had to go and buy a hot-rod router as the old cheap one was falling over and dying because web-cams take up too much internal bandwidth and I do this for a living and I cannot even imagine the working class parents having to deal with one IT guy for the whole school system and we're not that little of a town after all...

I pray you all keep safe and rise triumphant. My boss and my sysadmin are in the Seattle metro area, and they sound awful, and are joining fewer web meetings. Heavy smoke - just what we need in the midst of a pulmonary pandemic.
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:37 PM on September 17


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