Wildfire is a fact of life that those of us who live in the West live with every year. For weeks we had followed the progress of a huge wildfire in Washington State that grew in epic proportion and burned burned about 400 square miles — more than four times the size of Seattle — making it the largest wildfire in the state since record-keeping started.
History of this Fire: The Carlton Complex fires started on July 14, by lightning from a weather system that moved through the Methow Valley. The Carlton Complex started as four fires: the Stokes Fire, the Gold Hikes Fire, the French Creek Fire and the Cougar Flat fire. These fires grew into one larger fire on July 20.
Nearly 75% of the land burned by the fire was a scrub mix that allowed the fire to exploded and travel great distances quickly and 25% were forested land.
Hot weather and windy conditions pushed the fire over the ridge tops and into the town of Pateros resulting in a large number of evacuations. The fire made significant runs towards the cities of Brewster and Pateros between July 17th and 18th, consuming approximately 300 homes in its path and destroying critical infrastructure.
Significant rain helped firefighters to contain the fire but also caused some slides within the burned and scared area. Highway 20 and 153 were closed and required detours where roads were washed away or slides covered the highways. We were impacted by these road closures and followed detours that allowed us to view part of the areas that had burned. We could smell the lingering oder of fire in the air.
How much more personnel than just money, it is to families who lost everything.
Just past Grand Coulee Dam is Spring Canyon Campground, a National Recreation Campground. We were there on a holiday weekend but found that we could move to a second spot and stay the entire weekend. With the Senior Pass we were able to camp for $4 per night. Our campsite sat high on a hill overlooking Lake Roosevelt.
The wide open spaces were welcome and solar was plentiful. The simplistic and stark landscape was a beautiful metamorphosis from the mountains and tree canape we have been living under. It lent to a sudden feeling of freedom and a sense that I could fully breathe.
A quick trip into town allowed Hailey to attend an open house at the High School she will be attending in her Freshman year. A little grocery shopping and school supplies and a friend of hers will join us for the remainder of the weekend.
Sagebrush abounds as do snakes during this time of year. The Rangers and Camp hosts have been on snake patrol removing snakes from around the campground area.
This is not a good time of year for walking in the brush so we won't be doing much hiking here. But the huge beautiful beach and shady picnic area will give us plenty of things to do.
This narrated story, combines colorful lasers that move across the entire span of the dam, creating magnificent moving images that virtually dance across the spillway telling the story of the Missoula Floods that carved the canyon, the native people who lived there and the building of the dam.
After five days at Spring Canyon, our time for our great Washington summer Adventure came to a close.
Life is about to change and we will be adjusting to new realities. It is now time to adjust once more to a stationary life for a time. I am so grateful for the time this summer with my Granddaughter free from the stress of everyday life. It has been full of wonderful memories for both of us.