MOSIER, Ore. (KOIN) — There isn’t much left of Joel Hart’s family property — his metal shop, his home, his parents’ house, his sister’s vintage trailers.
The Mosier Creek Fire, which gobbled up nearly 1000 acres of land, is burning brush, oak, and timber southeast of Mosier. It’s about 10% contained as firefighters have established about 75% of a line of defense.
“I got to say that’s the scariest thing I’ve ever been through,” Hart told KOIN 6 News. “You can see it looks like a bomb went off. … It just melted the aluminum off the side of them.”
Investigators determined the Mosier Creek Fire was human-caused. Approximately 900 people have been evacuated as the fire continues to threaten several hundred homes and other structures.
He recounted harrowing details of how quickly the Mosier Creek Fire moved in.
“I walked over here and I saw some white smoke kind of down in the canyon and just like every moment that I watched it, it got bigger and bigger and bigger,” he said.
He climbed a ladder for a better view and realized his family was in trouble.
“I jumped on the roof just to look,” he said, “and it was ripping up the hillside.”
Hart flew into action. He warned his wife, parents, sisters and her boys that they need to pack up and go. As he was hooking up one of his sister’s travel trailer they realized they were running out of time.
“We just watched the sky turn blacker and blacker and I’m hooking up the trailer and then what was really scary was when everything turned orange,” he said. “Because the fire was reflecting off the smoke and the whole area just turned orange. And I look over from here and I can see about a 20 foot wall of flames coming from my parents’ house.”
They all managed to escape safely — but they lost everything.
“We have 4 generations that live or lived here,” he said.
Mosier Creek Fire spokesperson Rich Tyler said the weather conditions Friday night will allow them to work on the south and east side of the fire before triple-digit heat arrives this weekend.
“The weather prediction shows, mid-60s relative humidity is going to go up so it means fire spread is less likely,” Tyler said.
Despite everything, Joel Hart is grateful.
“I can’t say enough how much we appreciate everyone that helped us out,” he said “It’s been amazing.”