If you are traveling to California within the next few days, try to be flexible with some of your travel plans--particularly if you were planning to visit the local forests or some of the national parks:
SAN FRANCISCO - Firefighters from neighboring states arrived to help Monday after an "unprecedented" lightning storm sparked more than 800 wildfires, from Big Sur to wine country to Humboldt County.
Thousands of firefighters battled the blazes on the ground and from the air and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said he was alarmed by the number of fires that kept erupting.
He said he was told late Sunday evening that the state had 520 fires, and he found it "quite shocking" that by morning the number had risen above 700.
Moments later, a top state fire official standing at Schwarzenegger's side offered a grim update: The figure was actually 842 fires, said Del Walters, assistant regional chief of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. All but a couple were in the northern part of the state.
"This is an unprecedented lightning storm in California, that it lasted as long as it did, 5,000 to 6,000 lightning strikes," Walters said. "We are finding fires all the time."
Some of the largest fires are just about 30 miles east of Sacramento, about 20 miles south of Monterey and Carmel, and in the northern part of the state near Humboldt, which is home to the Redwood National Park. It is estimated that over 100 of the fires are raging with no firefighters attacking them at all, simply because there are too many fires to fight them all.
Fortunately, none of the fires are raging terribly close to any of the major metropolitan areas.
North of California, in the State of Oregon, we have no fires at all (all is green and the waterfalls and rivers are flowing full force with snow melt). We have much less crowding, less traffic than California (our big brother to the south), the people are super friendly, and we have no sales tax on any purchase. One strange thing about our state - you cannot pump your own gas! We did have a very wet and cold Spring, but it's now in the mid 80's F. All are welcome (even Californians and Floridians).
Northwestern firefighters are now enroute to help California fight those fires.
[ Edit: Edited on Jun 24, 2008, at 3:14 AM by Daawgon ]
I wanna try and make it out to Oregon soon. I'm from Cali, so it wont be too far a trip for me. I have never been - what are some of the places to definitely see? I do appreciate the natural sights that u describe, so I'd like to know the hot spots for that kinda stuff. Also, I'd like to meet some ppl and get into the whole "culture" of Oregon if possible.
Seattle is an obvious hit - think its worth it? Thanks for the help!
[ Edit: Sorry, no promos or personal details please. ]
We do thank the good firefighters of Oregon for coming to our aid in our time of need. We'll return the favor if the need arises (let's hope, however that no need does arise).
Daawgon can probably give a better description of all the things worth seeing, but here's a few great spots:
Crater Lake--beautiful and gigantic
Ashland--great summer Shakespeare festival and quaint town
Grants Pass--large town with lots of redwoods and great views
Bend--a friend of mine lives here and claims it is heaven on earth--we often debate the pros and cons of his home town and mine (all pros and almost no cons on both our parts)
West coast of Oregon --lots of scenic land without the overpopulation you find in California--and yet still beautiful golf courses in the middle of nowhere
Portland--largest city and home of the Rose Festival every May
Columbia Gorge--east of Portland with dramatic views of the river
Eugene--college town--home to the University of Oregon Ducks
Beaverton--northwest of Portland--and where Nike has its headquarters
Seattle, however, is in Washington, not Oregon. A great town, but 300 miles north of Portland.
Here's an interesting note: Washington state has no property tax and Oregon state has no sales tax. As a result, many people live just across the river from Portland in Vancouver, Washington (not the Vancouver in British columbia, Canada). They live there to pay no property taxes on their houses, then they travel across the river the one mile or so to shop in Portland where there is no sales tax. There are businesses to work at on both sides of the river.