Right now, there are 66 weather alert items on the homepage of KREM 2 news: wind advisories for Chelan, Douglas and Okanogan counties — some of the hardest hit by the still out-of-control fires burning in the past week (this map shows where all active fires are located) — as well as the ever-present fire weather warnings for basically all of the Inland Northwest, along with blowing dust advisories and poor air quality alerts. The entire region is under a red flag warning, currently in effect until 11 pm tonight, with wind gusts in the Okanogan Valley predicted up to 45 mph.
President Obama this morning signed a Declaration of Emergency for all of Washington state, which sends federal aid our way via FEMA. There's no way around it — the outlook right now, and through this weekend, is bleak. Some are even comparing the current situation to the Great Idaho Fire disaster that happened 105 years ago yesterday, on Aug. 20, 1910, that scorched 3 million acres in two days, killed 87 firefighters and destroyed five towns.
As unnerving as it is also inspiring, the Washington state Department of Natural Resources has put out a call — for the first time in state history — for volunteer citizens to help on the fire lines.
While many of us are protected by the concrete embrace of the city, it's too easy to feel helpless or guilty that we aren't able to help stop this unprecedented modern disaster. From monetary donations to disaster relief organizations like the local Red Cross chapters, to dropping off supplies to give our hard-working firefighters' what little relief we can, Inlander staff have complied a list of resources and ways we can all help out during this troubling time:
Where to donate monetary support:
There's still plenty of time to kick back and lose yourself in this year's selection for Spokane is Reading, the 14th annual community reading program.
This year's selection is Station Eleven, a post-apocalyptic best-seller by Emily St. John Mandel. The highly acclaimed, award-winning book is Mandel's fourth, and was nominated for the National Book Award and the PEN/Faulkner Award; it also won the 2015 Arthur C. Clarke Award. Station Eleven was named one of the 10 best books of 2014 by the Huffington Post and the Washington Post, and a screen adaptation is reportedly in the works.
Station Eleven is a dystopian tale set in the near future, after a pandemic flu kills off most of the world's population. It follows a traveling band of Shakespearian actors and examines the types of relationships that sustain us and the nature of fame. Here's more on the book (which we've just placed an order for) from its jacket:
“An audacious, darkly glittering novel about art, fame, and ambition set in the eerie days of civilization’s collapse, from the author of three highly-acclaimed previous novels.
One snowy night a famous Hollywood actor slumps over and dies onstage during a production of King Lear. Hours later, the world as we know it begins to dissolve. Moving back and forth in time—from the actor’s early days as a film star to fifteen years in the future, when a theater troupe known as The Travelling Symphony roams the wasteland of what remains—this suspenseful, elegiac, spellbinding novel charts the strange twists of fate that connect five people: the actor, the man who tried to save him, the actor’s first wife, his oldest friend, and a young actress with the Traveling Symphony, caught in the crosshairs of a dangerous self-proclaimed prophet. Sometimes terrifying, sometimes tender, Station Eleven tells a story about the relationships that sustain us, the ephemeral nature of fame, and the beauty of the world as we know it.”
Mandel is set to give two presentations in Spokane is Reading's tradition of bringing the authors it features to Spokane — one at CenterPlace Event Center in Spokane Valley at 1 pm, and a later presentation at the Bing Crosby Theater, at 7 pm, both on Thursday, October 29. Both events are free. Auntie's Bookstore will be on hand selling copies of the novel, and the author will meet fans and sign copies of her work following each talk.
A joint effort by the Spokane County Library District, Spokane Public Library and Auntie's Bookstore, Spokane is Reading began back in 2001 as a community-wide effort to encourage local adults to read and make connections through literature. Last year's book selection was Karen Russell's fantastical Swamplandia! and 2013's event highlighted Seattle author Maria Semple's Where'd You Go Bernadette.
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