All Oregonians will remember the tragic wildfire that ran through the Columbia River Gorge, destroying many of the state’s most beautiful hikes and views. The fire burned a total of 48,000 acres of land.
Ever so slowly, several trails are opening up to the public once again, specifically Starvation Ridge, Mount Defiance, and Warren Lake. Favorite spots that include Oneonta Gorge, Angel’s Rest, and Larch Mountain are still closed to the public.
In February, the teen who started the fire by throwing fireworks into brush pleaded guilty, and he was just charged by the Hood River County Circuit Court with paying around $36.6 million in restitution for the damage caused by the fire. The Hood River Juvenile Department will help him to establish a payment schedule. The judge stated in a memorandum on the case that “In short, I’m satisfied that the restitution ordered in this case bears a sufficient relationship to the gravity of the offenses for which the youth was adjudicated.”
The smell of burning timber woke Guy Fieri in his Santa Rosa, California home earlier this month. “The smoke was really bad,” the Food Network chef told local radio station KQED. “We had to evacuate at two in the morning, and we grabbed what we could, taking pictures off the wall as fast as we could. Jumped in the truck, loaded in the dogs, and away we went.”
While Fieri’s home escaped the wildfires unscathed, other Santa Rosa residents were less fortunate. So, Fieri decided to help them in the way he knew best: by preparing and serving delicious meals. The chef and his staff cooked barbecue chicken, coleslaw and bean salad in a mobile wood-fired oven and smoker, which they parked outside of town. Nearly 4,000 evacuees and volunteers lined up to sample Fieri’s cuisine on the first day.
Fieri plans to continue operating his mobile kitchen, so he can keep serving 5,000 meals daily to fellow victims and personnel. A fundraiser in partnership with the Salvation Army is financing his efforts. To donate, click here.
Two brothers pulled a woman from a burning car, saving her life, after she had crashed into a gas pump.
The brothers, Phillipe and Raphael Bittar, had pulled their car over at the Chevron service station on 7200 S.W. Beaverton Hillsdale Highway to take a picture of the flames. At first, the brothers did not know that someone was trapped in the car because there were other people taking pictures and videos of the burning car.
“I was expecting for everybody to be safe because there was nobody trying to intervene or anything,” explained Phillipe. “So I just kind of came over here and I was like, ‘Oh wow, that’s a pretty bad fire.’ I didn’t realize there was somebody in the car until a woman ran up and my brother’s like, ‘There’s a woman in there.’ And I was like, ‘Let’s go.'”
Phillipe, age 19 and a student at Oregon State, ran towards the burning car. When he got there, he noticed that the older woman had tried to get out of the car and managed to move from the driver seat to the passenger seat, but she was trapped.
“The woman, she was just panicking inside the car and I told her, ‘I’m going to get you out of here as fast as I can. I just punched the window and I took her out. I picked her up and gave her to her friends,” Phillipe said.
Phillipe and Raphael got the woman out of the car just in time. “The flames were already starting to creep into the back seat, and after we got her out and go her behind the building for safety, we came back (and) the flames were already out of the front seat,” said Raphael.
According to the Tualatin Valley Fire and Rescue (TVF&R), a gas station employee turned the main switch to the gas pumps off to prevent further damage.
TVF&R Battalion Chief Leonard Damian commented on Phillipe’s life-saving actions. “Had this individual not broken out the window and pulled the patient out of the burning car and to safety, I don’t believe she would have survived. His actions were nothing short of heroic,” said Damian.
The woman suffered from smoke inhalation and was taken to a hospital where she is expected to recover.