Erratic nature of wildfires on display in Dodge


Jim Kandolf lost his home, but a nearby home was untouched

DODGE, Ore. (KOIN) — “Poof. Everything was gone. Nothing left.”

Jim Kandolf said when the thick black smoke of the Riverside Fire approached he knew it was time for the family of 5 to get out.

This structures and many other were left in rubble after wildfires demolished the town of Dodge in Clackamas County, September 16, 2020 (KOIN)

“We just loaded up the kids, our important papers and got out of here,” he told KOIN 6 News.

The Riverside Fire robbed them of their home and his uncle’s home, as well. While homes on either side of their survived, they lost everything.

“That’s the stove, the washer-dryer, the water tank’s over there,” he said, pointing things out. “You can see part of the TV and computer frames. But everything turned to ash. I mean, except for the metal stuff, everything else is ash. There’s nothing salvageable at all.”

While many people are still staying out of the evacuation zone, others are trying to protect their property from the spot fires happening.

In an area of rural Estacada, there were several areas where fire demolished buildings, barns, cars. But some homeowners are fortunate the fire stopped short, often inches from their homes.

Only a chimney and fireplace remain of the historic Dodge Community Church.

Side by side images of the historic Dodge Community Church, lost when the Riverside Fire roared through, September 16, 2020 (KOIN)

The Estacada Community Watch Group is operating a busy donation center helping people coming back in with supplies — since many literally lost everything.

There is gratitude for human survival, but the sorrow is tremendous.

“It’s just devastating,” Kandolf said.

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