My older daughter lives in Santa Rosa, California. She was awakened in the early hours of Monday morning to learn that large parts of the city were being evacuated because fires were rushing into the city. Conditions were very dry and there were high winds, 30 mph gusting to 50 and even 70 in the mountains! There was no stopping the fires under these conditions and soon 20,000 acres, and more, were on fire, and this was only one of a number of fires in Northern California.
It is now Tuesday morning and it’s hard to find updated information. My daughter (with husband, two little kids, and a cat) first went to a friend’s house in a nearby town and later, when her in laws decided to evacuate also, they all went to her aunt’s house south of San Francisco so they are all safe. Her house is just outside the latest evacuation zone maps that I can find, and the in laws are right on the border so I think chances are good that their homes will be ok but it’s too soon to say for sure. As of last night fires were 0% contained and though the winds had decreased, they were still blowing.
This is my daughter and her sister on her wedding day.
This is Paradise Winery now, totally destroyed. The wedding photo was taken on the gravel walkway you can see on the left. (Above photo is from the winery’s Facebook page)
I have seen entirely too many photos like this of various houses and buildings on fire, and the whole area looking like an inferno. I saw a live broadcast from the Home Depot parking lot yesterday and the decorative trees in the parking lot were going up like torches, one by one, and smoke and flames were billowing from th buildings just beyond.
This is Fountaingrove, a lovely area on a hill with beautiful vistas and high dollar homes, and it’s completely destroyed. These are affluent people who certainly have insurance and the means to rebuild, but can you imagine having no home today? Where would you go? How would you start to rebuild your life? Now imagine being a homeless person, and there are many in Santa Rosa. I’ve seen them in tents, and those with cars and RV’s fill the parking lot to overflowing every night where my daughter works in her government job. Oh, and BTW who knows the condition of her workplace. A mobile home park two blocks away burned to the ground.
I know disasters happen all over the world, often with huge losses to lives and property, and often to people who have no means to rebuild. But, this is my daughter, and a home and city I’ve visited many times. I know whatever happens they will come through but I hate to think of the trauma, and many of her friends and coworkers who have lost everything.
Today I am thankful to be in a Panamanian block house with a metal roof where pretty much nothing happens. But, my mind is mostly elsewhere at the moment.