On Friday, Aug. 28, the Airshow of the Cascades, in Madras, Ore., had an awesome night show. But that is not news, as it happens all over the country.
What is news is that for the first time in the airshow’s 16-year history, the aerial acts had to be cancelled on Saturday, Aug. 29, because of a fire that started around 10 a.m. at Cove Palisades State Park, near Madras Airport, by improperly disposed of charcoal briquettes.
The fast-moving fire caused at least 100 people to flee, leaving behind their gear and trailers to be lost to the fire.
The fire required all firefighting resources in the county, including the firefighting crew at the airshow.
In the interest of safety, the FAA would not permit the airshow to occur without the firefighters onsite, according to organizers.
“Upon receiving this information, our teams of volunteers immediately sprang into action and we continued on with static airplane displays, a car show and parade, extended live swing music, and free Erickson Aircraft Collection tours until closing time,” organizers reported. “Our vendors stayed and provided food and beverages and other items for sale.
Meanwhile, two homes, and numerous out buildings, were destroyed by the fire. According to reports from those on site, the next house to burn would have been the new home of Rob Berg, the Madras Airport manager.
But, organizers report that about 40 homes were saved by the quick reaction of the fire crews.
And an Erickson Skycrane that had been at the airshow was reported to have dumped “impressive” quantities of water on the fire from the adjacent lake for more than two hours.
“All involved in the airshow were deeply disappointed by the cancellation, but relieved that there was no loss of life and property loss was held to a minimum,” airshow officials noted.