It’s been exactly a week since my daughter and her family fled Santa Rosa in the early hours of the morning as the fires rushed into the city. I know there are disasters in many other places but this is my daughter’s city, my US address, and a city I’m familiar with. This has hit too close to home.
My daughter and family came back home last night. Her house is fine, as is the house of her in laws. There are still fires burning though and areas are still under evacuation. She said the air isn’t too bad because the winds weren’t blowing the smoke at them, but they could see the flames in the hills.
Many weren’t so lucky. According to this article, 40 people lost their lives. Hundreds are still missing and more may be found dead. 217,556 acres have burned and 5700 homes and businesses have been destroyed. 100,000 people have been evacuated and many won’t have homes to return to.
But, in all this trauma and destruction, thousands have come forward to help. There are more than 10,000 firefighters and police in the area from all over, and national guard, Red Cross, FEMA, and many other personnel. My daughter said it looks like an air show with all the planes and helicopters overhead fighting the fires. Individuals are also helping with an outpouring of donations, food, shelter, services, and tons of care and moral support. Even I, because I have a Santa Rosa address, I have received emails from Schwab and other banks offering support and any services they can offer to help get through this difficult time.
some random photos…
There is a FEMA center where people can go to one place for help with everything – housing, insurance, FEMA assistance, replacing vital documents, drivers licenses, etc. There is an article here. My daughter, who usually works for the county, will be there helping with housing.
Its a daunting task to rebuild all those structures and lives, and to recover from the stress and trauma. There were people who literally ran for their lives in the middle of the night with nothing more than the clothes on their backs. I thought the fire chief was going to break down in a town meeting when he described putting every resource on the fire and being unable to stop its progress. But, with the amount of help and support being offered, I think in time people will be able to move forward and rebuild their lives. I certainly hope so.
I try not to pay much attention to what goes on in the White House. It’s better for my blood pressure that way, but has the president even mentioned the California fires, let alone made plans to visit? At least congress is sending money which is enormously helpful.
I am very glad to be sitting in my block house with a metal roof. I’ve seen many brush fires here but I’ve never seen a burned house.