As you probably know, this has been a summer of extreme drought for Western Washington - and much of the rest of the western US. Because of the drought our pastures where the cattle graze rotationally have not recovered as usual. We have had to start supplementing our cattle with hay this summer - something we usually only feed in the winter. The drought has led to EXTREMELY dry conditions throughout the Skagit Valley and the North Cascades - both the east and west sides; we've never seen it like this. And now, fire. It seems all of Washington is on fire. We've been very lucky so far and the fire has remained about 20 miles above us, near the town of Newhalem. The towns of Diablo and Newhalem have been evacuated, along with the many campgrounds along Highway 20 and the North Cascades Institute. We are praying for those who have not been so fortunate and the safety of all the brave folks risking their lives to fight the fires. The firefighters are working hard to save the structures in Newhalem. Below are some images taken by one of the firefighters near Newhalem.
On the east side the damage is much worse with three firefighters killed and more injured, homes and animals lost. Some of our friends had to evacuate their ranch with what they could carry with them and leave their animals - including their prizewinning cattle - behind. So far, their ranch has had some damage but they and their cattle are safe. Not everyone has been so fortunate.
As for our little town of Marblemount, the fire fighters are using the Community Hall as a staging center. The town and valley's usually crystal clear air is filled with smoke which is making it difficult to breathe. The smoke is so thick we can't even see the mountains that are a quarter of a mile from the ranch. It could be so much worse though and we are very grateful to have been spared. The weather is supposed to cool and the winds change soon and we are praying that will help with the fires. Click here to see the latest report from the National Wildfire Service
As long as the fire doesn't move down to us, we will be making our deliveries as scheduled this Saturday, August 29. Thank you to those of you who have called and sent messages asking about us and our safety - we appreciate it.And if you are a praying person, please say a prayer for all those risking their lives and the families of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.