Handmade signs displayed in Riddle on Thursday show appreciation for the firefighters battling the Horse Prairie Fire.

Along with a photography contest, beer and wine garden, live music and food trucks, this year’s NeighborWorks Umpqua Block Party will feature an opportunity for members of the public to write notes of appreciation for wildland firefighters.

The block party is slated for 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday at the Willis House at 744 Rose St., Roseburg.

Saundra Romero of Winston said she was seeing a lot of frustration from people on social media who wanted to help the firefighters working to suppress wildfires in Douglas County, but were not getting a speedy response from inundated agencies that normally take volunteers. She called Cheryl Caplan at the Umpqua National Forest, who suggested writing thank you notes to firefighters and their families.

“I thought the block party would be a great time to set up a table and give the community an opportunity to write thank you notes,” Romero said. “There’s a lot of firefighters out there who could use a lift.”

“This seems like a fun idea for people to contribute to the cause by writing a note,” Caplan said. “Both the Umpqua North Complex team and Horse Prairie team are willing to take the thank you notes to distribute to firefighters or to let firefighters take to send home.”

Caplan also suggested posting thank you signs around the community or on routes that firefighters take from fire camp to the fire line, writing letters to firefighters’ families, writing individual thank you notes to include in each firefighter’s lunch and providing postcards, stamps and letter supplies for firefighters to write home.

Romero has also started a group on Facebook called Roseburg “Rocks!”

“We paint rocks and hide them around the community for people to find,” Romero said. The block party will also feature a rock painting booth next to the thank you note booth.

For more information about the block party, call 541-673-4909.

Reporter Emily Hoard can be reached at 541-957-4217 or ehoard@nrtoday.com. Or follow her on Twitter @hoard_emily.

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Business, Natural Resources and Outdoors Reporter

Emily Hoard is the business, outdoors and natural resources reporter for The News-Review. She can be reached at 541-957-4217 or by email at ehoard@nrtoday.com. Follow her on Twitter @hoard_emily.

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