Dowty Fire survivor recounts horror: ‘Front lawn was on fire’

Wildfires

Daniel Boatright said embers bounced off the hood of his car as he drove away

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A man living on the outskirts of Estacada is one of the several hundreds of residents in Clackamas County dealing with the devastation left by the recent outbreak of wildfires.

Daniel Boatright, who has been part of the county’s evacuation effort, told KOIN 6 he fought the flames of the Dowty Fire first hand and was one of the few lucky ones who did not lose his home.

“Tuesday afternoon I had called in smoke I’d seen over the river,” Boatright said when recounting how the events unfolded leading up to the Dowty Fire’s approach. “I didnt think much of it.”

That all changed after he was sent to Colton to knock on doors to tell neighbors they needed to evacuate.

“Two hours into that I got a call from our neighbor that we were being evacuated,” said Boatright. “We weren’t at a level one or anything, it was just straight to a three at that point.” At first, he thought he would be able to stay and protect his home, but then saw flames flaring up in nearby trees.

“The fire marshal is yelling at me from the middle of the road [and] that I need to leave immediately,” he said. “I jumped in [the car], started going [and] the front lawn was on fire. There were embers bouncing off the front hood as I drove away. And, I thought for sure it was all gone.”

Upon returning the whole tree line was on fire and his next door neighbor’s house was fully involved. Miraculously, Boatright’s home was still standing. He stayed and defended the surrounding areas overnight into the early hours. Though he is heartbroken many of his fellow community members lost so much, Boatright is encouraged by the love he is seeing in the recovery effort already.

“Everyone is ready and willing to jump in and help each other,” he said. “That’s the highlight of what’s happening here amongst all the challenges.”

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