As we watch the wild fires blazing across the Pacific states on television we can only be stunned at the sheer destruction caused by them.
I know I empathize with the victims of the fires, those who have lost their homes and animals.
Others are forced into action, willing to help with donations for the people impacted by the fires. The greater community of Yakima and Klickitat counties has mobilized for the victims of the Taylor Bridge fire and it is encouraging to see such support.
Seeing the news footage of the fires reminds me of two occasions when my home town was under the threat of such destruction. I was a young girl when a fire started by kids playing with matches ignited just a block and a half from my home. My neighborhood bordered the forested area behind the high school and all that separated the trees from the first row of homes was a residential street.
My family watched the action from our yard as plumes of smoke filled the sky. We waited to hear if the fire had jumped that asphalt strip. We didn't know if we would need to evacuate our homes.
We watched the sky overhead as bombers dropped low over our rooftops, opening bays filled with what appeared to be a red dust that scattered over the flames.
Eventually, the firefighters were successful and the town realized that our neighborhood would have only been the beginning of mass destruction had the firefighters not been able to contain the forest fire.
Another forest fire that threatened our small town actually occurred miles away over a mountain ridge. I was in junior high at the time and there was a threat of the blaze traversing the hills to reach the outer edges of town.
The smoke was so thick for days on end. We had difficult seeing very far and when we looked for the sun, there was an orange glow through the smoke. There was an eclipse around the same time and my science teacher warned us we could not look directly at the sun.
I remember everything smelling like that awful smoke long after it had cleared.
As an adult I can only imagine the fear and the uncertainty of those currently facing these hardships forced upon them by the wild fires.
It makes me grateful for the blessings in my life, wishing to help those in need in whatever way I can.