The viral image of three golfers playing a round during the Eagle Creek Fire in Oregon was taken by a skydiver.
The internet quickly questioned the validity of this spectacular and shocking photograph of unconcerned golfers putting away on the golf course as an inferno blazed on in the background. Many believed it was created in photoshop. However, the photographer behind the photograph has stepped forward to tell the real story behind this phenomenal image.
Kristi McClur is responsible for snapping this stunning shot. McClur began her Saturday by going skydiving. The ametuar photographer made five jumps that day and spotted the fire on her third one.
Smoke began to rise from the wooded area of Eagle Creek in Oregon. McClur spotted plumes billowing from the trees below. After an hour, she went for her fourth jump. That is when she noticed that the smoke had begun to move horizontally.
“You could see it spreading across the sky,” she said. She went on to say visibility was good enough for one more skydive, so she went for it.
Ash clouded the skies on Sunday, preventing her from going up again. By Monday, the visibility was even worse. That’s when McClur decided to take her camera and document the wildfire.
She began her journey by heading on I-84 toward Washington. However, her way was blocked by fallen trees that were still on fire. Her intention was to get to the Bridge of the Gods, which connects Washington and Oregon. However, when she got close, she noticed the bridge was closed off to traffic.
She stopped in an area on the road where many people had also stopped to watch the blaze, and she began taking photos. The Washington State Police told her to leave and find a place to safely wait out the fire.
In her attempts to turn around and drive west, McClur found herself in the Beacon Golf Course in North Bonneville, Washington. That’s when she noticed several people playing golf. There weren’t many cars in the area, so she stopped and started taking photos.
McClur insists that they were not in any real danger. She said they chatted momentarily about the surrealism of this catastrophe and that she did not get their names.
Once she uploaded the photo, it went viral almost instantly. Some people were shocked, some were entertained, and others were horrified. However, most did not believe it was real.
The Eagle Creek Fire started around 4 P.M. on Saturday and quickly spread over 3,000 acres overnight due to strong winds. Several hikers were stranded and quickly rescued. All communities closeby were ordered to evacuate.
In the following week, only 5% of the Eagle Creek Fire has been contained. It has burned up 31,000 acres of forest, approximately one-third of the size of Portland.
A Red Flag Warning and Air Quality Alert has been issued for the Portland metropolitan area. Firefighters and containment crews have been trying to get it under control before it reaches any populated areas.