Mike and I went to the farm at Gilbert today in order to survey the wind and fire damage sustained there on Saturday. Before I begin, let me say that scores of families are homeless due to this season’s wildfires, and our hearts go out to them. What I’m reporting here amounts to some excitement in a quiet community which resulted in the loss of a few trees. We’re nostalgic over them but we'll recover.
|The fire may have started at that power pole.|
Actually, Mike and I missed the excitement. We had planned to stay at the farm all day Saturday and stop for dinner at the Mexican restaurant in Orofino on our way back to Clarkston. If we had done that, we would not have missed the excitement. However, the smoke at the farm increased overnight and we decided to return to town Saturday morning.
|Looking west to the north field from the road|
|At the culvert in the lane looking west into the draw|
Here’s the story: About 3:30, the wind blew a power line down, and a spark ignited a fire in or around the north field, perhaps in the stubble. All vegetation is so very dry. Alert neighbors, Pete Curfman and John Richardson, both retired farmers, spotted the smoke and came with equipment. John disked a wide fire break in the north field to keep the fire from spreading and protect the house. Someone called authorities because before long, a busload of firefighters was brought in. They must have been nearby because by 5:30 the fire was controlled.
|I don't know if these apple trees will survive.|
From what we could see, the fire appeared to move in a northerly direction away from the house. The fire fighters moved into the draw below the north field in order to build a break and keep the fire from sweeping toward Little Canyon. You can see from the pictures here where it burned. Really that whole area where the road curves into our lane is badly charred. Also affected are the trees midway the lane, including the apple trees. This could be where the fire started.
|Pine limbs cover the cherry tree|
We also experienced wind damage. High gusts broke the top out of a large Ponderosa pine in the grove. And I hate to tell our daughter but a big pine limb fell on the little Lapins sweet cherry tree we planted last May. It was doing so well. It has just one limb intact. This is at least a setback. Well, it can be replaced.
A small crew of fire fighters from Boise were on site this morning.
So, we have some decisions to make regarding the disposal of burned and broken trees and perhaps replanting. Otherwise, it wasn’t so bad. Evidently our power was never off, so I didn’t have to deal with food issues.
Sometimes a fire brings renewal. We’ll see what happens. KW
[This farm was homesteaded by my paternal grandparents, Julian and Ina Dobson in 1896. My dad, Vance, was born here in 1904.]