Each year when wildfires spread along the US Pacific coast, those of us back east are filled with a mix of awe and wonder. In fact, people everywhere are struck by the enormous power of a blaze tearing through wooded areas, and we can’t help but imagine how we would feel with flames heading up or down the mountain towards our home.
This is exactly what befell Ken Cartwright and his wife Jan, whose property was devastated by a fire in the Santiam Canyon, east of Salem, OR. Pickers in the Pacific Northwest know Ken as a tireless promoter of bluegrass music, an avid player, a gifted luthier, and the owner of community radio station KYAC in Mill City.
The fire engulfed the region near his home and shop so quickly that they had to evacuate with nothing but the clothes on their backs. There wasn’t even time to collect treasured mementos, or either theirs or repair clients’ instruments. Of course they aren’t alone in this situation, with many of their neighbors suffering a similar fate.
Friends of the Cartwrights have launched a fundraiser on Facebook, and are asking anyone who is able to consider making a donation to help them get back on their feet. Insurance policies vary as to how much such damage is covered, but they never can make you whole after a disaster like this.
Knowing that Ken and Jan would not want to leave out their neighbors, we can all also donate to general wildfire relief through the American Red Cross.
Prayers and well wishes to all who have suffered this season from wildfires.