SUNDAY, JULY 27, 2003

Going over to the firefighters camp across the lake in Lowell because in congruence with the fire camp the yearly Blackberry Jam is taking place and the action is hot and heavy.

Clark Fire Camp. A town equal in habitants to the small city of Lowell has sprung up on the high school football field. This town empties in the morning and fills up at night. Its citizens shower, eat and hunker down, locked down. No one leaves or they get sent home. Everyone is friendly and smiling, with waves and hellos but running beneath the congenialty runs a seriousness befitting the circumstance.

Just across the street, off limits to the fire crews, the festival brings people from all over and provides a great intermingling of music from the stage and smells of barbecued ribs wafting across the town and fire camp.


Here's pics of the fire I took from the Willamette National Forest website which is a good place to check out for more information about the Clark Fire. The fire started near a campground. Whoever Clark was his name is all over the place. Clark Creek Campground and the infamous Clark Timber Sale a couple years ago when tree sitters and activists protested cutting old growth forest.

To get to the Willamette Forest website click on:

Willamette National Forest Website

I'd read that no one was allowed in the firefighters camp except workers and officials but when I checked in with the security guy at the entrance he took me right to the information office and introduced me to Greg Thayer, (left) a forest service information officer. Greg came from the Winnatchee National forest in Washington state and he told me personnel-- over a thousand people-- had come here from all over the country. Greg took me on a personal tour of the camp while just across the street we could hear the Jam going full bore.

The parade circled the festival grounds and came down the road next to the fire camp. Jean Good, parade marshall, rode atop the back seat of a white '57 T Bird. Jean, known all over the country-- a guy told me he was with her in Minnesota and some man came up and said, "Aren't you the book lady from Oregon?"-- is the raison d'etre for the Dexter Library, badgering the county and state to turn over an abandoned road maintenance building to the non-profit group she authored so she could fill the revamped building with the books overflowing her house. She had to move a box of books in order to get to the bathroom.

Here's Jessica Moffit and Don Ralphs, from Abel Fire Equipment in Bend, Oregon. They run the laundry, a big truck trailer full of clothes washers and dryers. They wash and dry the clothes of the firefighters every day; a necessity because of the poison oak oils that gets carried by the smoke. Not to mention the grime and dirt accumulated from long hours hauling water hoses, attacking hot spots with axes and mattoxes; digging fire breaks by hand; setting back fires to clear out brush.


Coming in, just off the line, crews from Miller Timber in Philomath, Oregon, take a moment for a picture before cleaning up.


Hot showers for men and women are fired up and ready to go. Can that firefighter in the middle of the photo on the left be wearing a hat with a skypilotclub patch?

One of the T shirts made on the spot, sold out of a canvas tent, the silk screening done right there.


Working the screen. Traveling T's is the name of the outfit. MacKenzie, the nephew of the owner is on the right. They're from Reno and travel all over to work the fires.