This is a horrendous fire season. Wildfires burn north of us in British Columbia, east in Washington State and Oregon, and south in California. Thousands of people have been displaced and many of them have lost their homes. Worse, both firefighters and civilians have lost their lives due to the fires.
It’s at times like this that we see what human beings are capable of. We see the courage of the frontline firefighters - some of whom have even traveled from countries as far away as New Zealand. We see the endurance of people who’ve lost all their worldly possessions. We see the hospitality of their neighbors who’ve offered shelter and other unbelieveable acts of generosity. For example, one celebrity chef is providing meals for five thousand people.
Throughout the land ordinary people like you and me are donating to the Salvation Army (salvationarmy.org) and the Red Cross (redcross.org), who can get help fast to those who need it.
It’s heartwarming to see that we can all be good neighbors. Here are a few more ways to consider preventing wildfires or ways to lend a hand:
- We can be sure to follow all the rules for fire prevention that we learned as children. If you’ve forgotten, or didn’t pay attention back then, go to smokeybear.com and refresh your memory.
- We can be extra-careful about accidents of all kinds. Emergency personnel are spread thin just now, and we can help by not giving them more to do.
- We can donate to one of the many more local organizations that are raising money and collecting supplies for our neighbors who’ve had to leave their homes.
- Both the Red Cross and animal rescue organizations need volunteers to help with people who’ve been evacuated and animals who’ve been rescued. A wide variety of talents is needed—call the local offices for more information.
- People with extra rooms (like those listed on AirBnB) are being asked to offer free shelter. Food shelves are collecting extra food for those who need it.
Remember that help will be needed long after the fires have been put out. Imagine the trauma of losing everything: pictures, clothing, memorabilia, jewelry, documents, furniture, even pets. People will need professional counseling and amateur hugs (online and in person). Insurance never covers everything, and those without insurance will certainly have continuing needs. Businesses have burned so jobs and livelihoods have been lost. In some places with deforested hillsides the threat of mudslides will loom for a long time.
So, we should plan for long-term help as well as emergency aid. One tradition among motorcycle enthusiasts is the fund-raising poker ride. We’re sure some local clubs or businesses will sponsor rides once the fire season is past. When that happens, we hope that organizers will let us know so we can post them on the Eagle Leather Ride Guide and that riders will look to The Ride Guide for these charitable opportunities.
Enjoy the ride—and be careful out there!