Sunday, August 30, 2015


…so with a west wind I don’t think we could have saved the house after this grove got afire. Ina Dobson, 1934

Harvest in N. field 2015
People have asked us if our farm property south of the Clearwater River near Orofino has been threatened during this fire season. We answer no, although fire danger is high everywhere with hot, dry conditions.

Harvest 2015
Harvest on our places was completed on August 18. Mike and I watched as the last field, the north 40, was harvested in an hour by two big combines. And that left the house sitting in the middle of dry stubble fields. (Hold that thought.)

Thursday afternoon (Aug. 27), we decided to travel back to the farm. Tired of packing and unpacking, I simply put a few perishables in a small cooler and a little produce in a box. I topped off the red crate, our perpetual farm tote, with bread and the camera.  

“The trouble is,” I said to Mike, “that in doing this so quickly, we’re bound to leave behind something we truly need.” He agreed. (We know ourselves very well.)

Yeah – we left behind the red crate with the bread and the camera. We coped with the lack of bread with biscuits and crackers, but I dearly missed the camera, which makes life so much more interesting.

The air was fairly clear as we arrived at the farm, but Friday morning the stinky, acrid stuff crept in again. Nevertheless, Mike made a day trip to Freeman Creek on the Dworshak Reservoir, his last motocaching trip of the year, he says. The good news is that he found all the caches. The bad news is that while he was hiking, his helmet and goggles (both brand new) were stolen at the nearly deserted campground where he parked his Yamaha XT.

A pre-harvest view of the N. field
Saturday morning (Aug. 29), we returned to town due to dense smoke, arriving just as a predicted windstorm came up. It blew through, taking the smoke with it, but leaving downed trees and power lines in its wake.

We didn’t learn about the fire at the farm until about 5:30. Farmer Kyle called to say a fire in the north field had burned about ten acres and was under control. A fire break was now in place between the house and the field, he said. We learned more when neighbor Karen called to say that her husband, John, had seen the fire early on and investigated. The wind blew the power line down which ignited a fire in the stubble. John, a retired farmer, brought a disc to make the initial fire break. As many as seventy-five fire fighters then arrived to help with the effort.

So, we missed the excitement, and no, we didn’t run right back to the farm. I felt tempted, but we were assured that all was under control and any threat to the house and barn averted. And what would we do anyway? We’re grateful to our alert neighbors who knew just what to do. 

I understand that no pictures were taken. Those who were there were busy. KW

1 comment:

Chris said...

That's the wonderful thing about living in a small community--whether rural or small town. People look out for one another and do what has to be done. Glad you have a fire break now! Sorry to hear about Mike's goggles and helmet though.