Letter writer: Thanks for support during wildfires

FIRE PROGRESSION MAP: This government map shows the progression of the Party Rock fire that started near Lake Lure in November. The arrow was added to show the location of Earthaven Ecovillage.

Dear Asheville,

What an experience!

Carolinians who live at the coast are more familiar with the kinds of nonpolitical disasters, like hurricanes and floods, than we are in the mountains. We get some torrential rains and our roads flood out from time to time, but this season we got to experience what can happen when an unusually long drought period turns some acts of carelessness and other rudeness into wildfires.

Out here at Earthaven Ecovillage, we’re giving thanks for the amazing turnout of support we received to address the closest of several regional wildfires. After the longest drought in over 100 years, not more than a mile and a half from us, a 7,000-acre fire claimed the brush and leaf litter lying in between. We really want to give a great big shoutout to all the volunteer and professional firefighters and everyone who helped them do such a magnificent job containing the fires!

On-site, teams of Earthaven members, friends and neighbors worked alongside folks from town (some we hadn’t known, some we hadn’t seen for years) to keep our land — and the buildings we’ve placed on them, the animals we house on them and the forest we hope not to harm — safe, habitable and friendly. Area online bulletins kept us up-to-the-minute on potential threats and evacuation advisories, while the Forest Service, local volunteer fire departments and other determined firefighters tackled and contained the wild beast that came closest to us, a mere 1 ½ miles away. Several area communities closer to the fire’s outbreak were temporarily evacuated; however, not a single structure was lost, nor were there reports of any other major losses.

On-site, teams roamed from one end of the community to the other, checking out neighborhoods for fire hazards, following Forest Service advisories and lending hands and tools wherever needed. Backup teams on the phone and online kept us and residents across the region connected to offers of help in the form of people power and tools, safe havens and information about the progress of the fire.

Donations of food, money and other necessities went to the firefighters and also to an Earthaven kitchen, where lunch and dinner were provided most of the week we were under threat. We learned a lot about fire prevention and also about how much support there is here, for each other and all around us!

Thank you, everyone who sent prayers and any sort of support for helping to make this an educational, inspirational and cautioning experience in a time of severe climate change!

— Arjuna da Silva
Black Mountain

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