Monday, April 11, 2011

Sand bags for the Burns flood

Thursday night the town of Burns declared a disaster emergency and issued a flood warning for about one hundred homes to the north and east of town. Search and Rescue went house to house in the affected area to warn residents to listen for a siren in the event the levee failed on the Silvies River to the north of town. Fortunately, through the efforts of firefighters, law enforcement, many volunteers, National Guard, and two engineers from the Army Corps of engineers to sandbag the levee and cut a relief channel under highway 20, the levee held. The river subsided over Saturday and Sunday. The danger is not over yet because the snow melt has just started in the mountains and pasture flooding is already extensive. I helped tie sandbags on Friday afternoon. The effort went on all day Friday and Saturday. If you've never helped fill sandbags, be it known that it is a back breaking process. We had an automatic hopper that could fill two sandbags at a time, but it still needed one person to open bags, another to hold the bag as the sand came out, another to tie the bags. Many people were shoveling sand into bags by hand – one holds the bag, the other shovels, another ties. The scene was resembled a beehive on a warm day. Seems like we filled thousands of bags.

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