Man shelters from wildfire flames in Oregon river

Man shelters from wildfire flames in Oregon river

LYONS, Ore. — An Oregon man says he used a green plastic chair as a shield from a huge, deadly wildfire as he sheltered from the flames on a rock in the middle of a river.

“Everything around me was on fire,” Don Myron, 56, told the Statesman Journal newspaper. “That chair helped save my butt.”

Myron had been caught last week in the Beachie Creek Fire in Little North Canyon, one of the areas most impacted by massive blazes that burned across the state. Four of the eight confirmed wildfire deaths in Oregon are from the area east of the state capital of Salem.

Myron said he was trapped in the canyon by downed trees and flames roaring on strong winds and survived by finding a rock in the middle of the Little North Santiam River where he could stay until the worst passed.

“If there’s anybody who can survive that situation, it’s my dad,” said Chris Myron, Don’s son. “He’s smart, can think on his feet and is very resourceful.”

Labor Day Weekend was normal, Don Myron said. His son Chris and his girlfriend visited and “we just had a good time on the river,” Myron said. “They left that afternoon. It was blue skies and no wind. Things changed in a hurry.”

The sheriff’s office sent crews out that afternoon to suggest residents evacuate that afternoon. Even so, most figured it was precautionary.

Myron spent the next few hours watering everything he could around his house and property.

“I had my last conversation with my oldest son around 8:45 p.m. I still felt OK at that point, although there was some smoke.”

The first branch landed on his roof at about 9:15 p.m. Myron went outside, looked up, and saw that the sky had turned orange.

“I ran to the end of the driveway, looked down the canyon and both sides of the river were engulfed in flames,” he told the newspaper.

He tried to drive to safety but was stopped by a large log in the road. He eventually made it into the river, up to his waist in water. He headed downstream, to a place the river widened, and came across three plastic chairs on the side of the river. He grabbed one.

Wind speeds, which have been estimated at 70 mph (113 kph) or higher, funneled down the canyon.

“When the wind really kicked up, I picked up the chair and held it in front of me,” he said. “That chair was incredible. It helped a lot.”

Around 2 p.m. the next day emergency vehicles and big rigs reached the area.

“Let me tell you, that was an awesome sight,” he said. “Thank God I ended up in a wide spot of the river and away from the banks.”

The Associated Press

Wildfires

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

RCMP. (Black Press File Photo)
Calgary man dies in two-vehicle collision near Sylvan Lake

A semi truck collided with a SUV just east of Hwy. 781 on Hwy 11.

FILE - A Tim Hortons employee hands out coffee from a drive-through window to a customer in Mississauga, Ont., on March 17, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Tim Hortons to test deposit program for returnable coffee cups and packaging

Test program to start at select Toronto restaurants

FILE - U.S. President Donald Trump, center left, and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau chat before a round table meeting of NATO leaders in Watford, Hertfordshire, England, Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Evan Vucci
US NATO allies still short on defence spending aims

None of the 30 allies owes NATO or its members money

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney arrives for an announcement at a news conference in Calgary, Alta., Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020.	Kenney is isolating at home after one of his ministers tested positive for COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Todd Korol
Alberta premier isolating after minister tests positive for COVID-19

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney is isolating at home

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Temporary COVID-19 testing sites coming to Wetaskiwin and Ponoka

The Wetaskiwin location will open Oct. 23, 2020 and the Ponoka location will open Oct. 29.

ACC President and CEO Ken Kolby spoke to Ponoka Chamber of Commerce members over Zoom on Oct. 20. (Image: screenshot)
Alberta chambers are ‘411’ to members, government: ACC president

Changes to government supports, second wave and snap election

world affairs
British brinkmanship leaves little hope of a Brexit trade deal

The British pantomime is a traditional Christmas entertainment in which stock characters… Continue reading

Smartphone showing various applications to social media services and Google. (Pixabay photo)
National media calling for level playing field with Google, Facebook

In Canada, Google and Facebook control 80 per cent of all online advertising revenues

Red Deer city council will hold a public hearing on Oct. 28 about whether to take the future expansion of Molly Banister Drive off the table. (Photo by MAMTA LULLA/Advocate staff).
Opinion: Molly Banister extension isn’t as important as quality of life

Citizen opposition to the Molly Banister Drive extension has grown since the… Continue reading

Email letters to editor@interior-news.com
I ask myself: ‘What the hell’ has happened to Red Deer?

I moved to Red Deer on Nov. 1, 2001, and I fell… Continue reading

Canada goalkeeper Erin McLeod wipes tears from her eyes after losing 2-1 to England during a FIFA Women’s World Cup quarterfinal soccer game in Vancouver, B.C., on Saturday June 27, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Canadian ‘keeper Erin McLeod happy in Iceland, looks to help others stay positive

Orlando loaned McLeod to Iceland’s Ungmennafelag Stjarnan in August

Most Read