Nashville Native Safe Amidst Wildfires

Posted at 7:37 PM, Jul 07, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-07 23:16:08-04

A Nashville native watched as one of the West Coast wildfires crawled over a mountain just minutes away from her home Saturday.

Roads have been shut down, homes destroyed, and at least person has died.

As wildfires rip through the West Coast, some residents have been forced to evacuate. 

"The fire is that way, you can see it's not blue sky anymore, it's like just smoke," Campbell Baker said.

Baker grew up in Nashville. She moved to Ashland, Oregon to open an art gallery.

"The fire that's like 20 minutes away, we couldn't really see that much smoke yesterday, and then this morning, it's like the whole valley is filled with smoke," Baker said.

The Klamathon fire stretched nearly 22,000 acres, and the main interstate in her town shut down. 

"We can't really leave Oregon and go straight southbound because of the fire that's up here. All of the 5 is closed down at my exit," Baker said.

Wildfires can change direction in an instant.

"They've started to tell Ashland residents to go ahead and pack their bags in case an evacuation is ordered," Baker said.

Baker is supposed to go to Santa Barbara County for work this week, but she isn't sure if she'll make it.

On Saturday, the governor issued a state of emergency there.

"Justin, my boyfriend, still has a boat in Santa Barbara," Baker said. "We kind of go back and forth, and so I'm going down there to paint a mural, and now I'm not sure if I'll be able to get down there."

As some evacuate, others like Baker are closely monitoring the situation, getting ready to leave their homes.

"It's weird, it doesn't feel real," Baker said. "There's always that moment when it hits me and I'm like, 'I'm not in Tennessee anymore, this is a real threat.'"

There are dozens of wildfires on the West Coast right now. If you have a loved one who is there, Google has a Wildfire Crisis Mapset up so you can see if a fire is contained.

There are several organizations that help wildfire victims like the Salvation Armyand American Red Cross if you would like to donate.