Picking hours are 8:00 am until 2:00 pm Monday through Saturday. (Closed Sunday) Price is $1.75 per pound. We can accept credit/debit card as well as cash and personal checks. (Occasionally, the internet may be a bit slow on the card transactions.) We will provide clean buckets to pick in, or you may use your own. With either option, pickers should bring containers to take berries home.
Reflections on the Cougar Creek Wildfire
When this massive (8000 A) fire was brought under partial control it had spread to within about a mile from our farm. (20% under control as of this comment) The fire zones near the farm are mostly comprised of highly combustible fir trees in various stages of growth and undergrowth. It is also some of the most difficult terrain imaginable in which to fight and try to control a fire. The hills and ridges are extremely steep. So steep that the tracked dozers used to blade fire lanes must be anchored to the ridge-tops to prevent rolling down the hill. Land access to the fire zones is only possible by the maze of logging roads on the ridge-tops, and spur roads developed over generations to harvest trees and maintain the (commercial) forest.
We developed the farm more than 30 years ago, and I rarely had previous occasion to praise government bureaucracies. Douglas County has been the exception. This fire is only the latest in a number of like events where the county, business and commercial operations have pooled resources to protect property, restore power, clear road blockages, maintain roads, …, and establish communication with residents.
This fire gave us a “ringside” opportunity to see these wheels in motion: Although there are only a few hundred residents in the fire zones, the local fire marshals prioritized safety, evacuated as necessary, stayed in contact with residents and brought in assets to “fireproof” structures.
Local forest product companies, farmers and ranchers, provided equipment. The local restaurants provided meals. Hundreds of firefighters were brought in from other Oregon counties and out-of-state. Local residents offered to take in displaced people and livestock. Air assets included tankers (DC10 and smaller), helicopters, (Chinooks and smaller) as well as spotter and management aircraft. We were not privy to any negotiations, but I am quite sure that there were some pretty high-level jaw-boning with other counties/states to allocate limited assets.
We were able to watch streams of pickup trucks, buses and equipment pass by the farm on Tyee Road on their way to the fires. Helicopters, (sometimes as many as 4 in view at one time) dipping water from the river in front of our blueberry field. Very impressive!!
This fire complex was caused by multiple lightning strikes about a week ago, and even with this massive and timely mustering, management and application of assets, the losses to the local and individual economy will be considerable, and most certainly would have been much worse if there had been any delays in the response. As impressive as this fire response has been, more than 7000 acres of productive timberland has been burned.
Forests sequester (eat and save) vast amounts of CO2 to make wood, naturally decreasing the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere as the trees grow. The CO2 is “locked up” when the wood is turned into houses and other products. When trees are harvested and replanted, the cycle continues—creating a natural means for CO2 reduction, with no apparent downside and minimal environmental impact. On the other hand, forest fires release all that stored CO2 when the wood burns, with possible long-term effects and very real and immediate negative impact. If CO2 emission-caused global warming is highest priority and worth spending large amounts of taxpayer money to remedy, then prioritizing development and introduction of effective technologies and protocols to minimize forest wildfires would seem to be highly leveraged, both in short and long-term impact.
A sincere well-done to all hands involved with controlling this fire! Communication was great and we learned a lot. If you visit our farm during next UPick season we would really like to hear about your experiences.