Cascade Locks business owner keeps cooking despite worries - KPTV - FOX 12

Cascade Locks business owner keeps cooking despite worries

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CASCADE LOCKS, OR (KPTV) -

More than a week has passed since the flames of the Eagle Creek Fire ignited, changing the lives of so many people residing in the Columbia River Gorge.

Throughout the weekend, fire crews said westerly winds have pushed smoke to the east, but those winds are expected to switch Monday, which will put fire lines to the ultimate test.

While the people of the Gorge wait and pray, one evacuated restaurant in Cascade Locks is trying to stay positive and take care of firefighters.

Shelley James owns the Cascade Locks Ale House, and while the folks clogging up the kitchen at the closed restaurant may not have official jobs this week, they are staying busy.

"You're looking at 13 people who are essentially unemployed," James said. "I'm worried sick but right now we can't focus on that, we need to focus on the community and getting through this."

She said she's lost about $35,000 in sales since the flames took over the Gorge. The restaurant has been closed every day since the fire, but James can still be found there, giving fuel to the fire crews who need it the most.

"They're incredibly thankful that we've all pulled together and are feeding them," she said.

James and her crew have been passing out food for crews on the go. When firefighters can't leave the lines, James goes to them, making rounds at different drop off points to make sure everyone gets fed.

"It's nice to get a homemade meal, the support from the community," a wildland firefighter from New Mexico told FOX 12.

James said it was heartbreaking to know that people still cannot get to their homes due to the fire. Cooking is clearly James' way of coping with the smoke and heartbreak, but she said that soon her business and her community will soon need some help of its own, far after the flames are out.

"Come in and see us because we need everyone to be able to get through this."

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