The devastation of the fires is just incredible. I’ve been following news and updates from here while my daughter concentrates on taking care of herself and her family. They are fine at the moment, back at home, and even have power but they are packed and ready to go at a moments notice. The fire above them seems to have burned down and become calmer, but there is a more active fire below them prompting new evacuations, and the wind is expected to start blowing hard again today. The in laws are nearby, also fine though they don’t have power, and they are also packed and ready to go. It’s watch and wait for now.
There are multiple fires in the area. The Tubbs fire is the one that swept through Santa Rosa. The area had a considerable amount of rain in the recent past so the grasses and plants really grew. Then the rain stopped, everything dried out, and the winds starting blowing, some at near hurricane strength in the mountains. It’s a perfect recipe for fire disaster.
This from the local newspaper. Bennett Valley is just below my daughter.
I watched a live presentation last night by local officials. There is an incredible amount of help pouring in – firefighters and equipment from all over the state, gas and power people and equipment, hundreds of police and national guard, Red Cross, telephone services, medical help, and volunteers. Most are working around the clock. They pledged to stay as long as necessary to help people recover. Financial help is also coming, and insurance adjusters and FEMA are on site.
My heart went out to the fire chief though. He was almost in tears when he told about Sunday night. They had every available resource on the Tubbs fire but there was nothing they could do to stop it. Soon their job turned to banging on doors and getting people out, saving lives over property.
Hopefully the winds today won’t push fires into new areas to do more damage, and hopefully this crisis will be over soon. People look exhausted. Then comes the long process of recovery and rebuilding.
Meanwhile, here in Panama, the country is beside itself with excitement. The soccer team is going to the World Cup! Soccer is a really big deal here, and it’s such a big accomplishment that the president has declared today a holiday for everyone.
I realized last night that yesterday was my five year anniversary of living in Panama. I was too focused on other things to even think about it at the moment. I’ll have to gather some thoughts and write something later.