Disastrous events such as the historic fires that are ravaging California’s Wine Country take a toll on even those who may not have lost their home and lively possessions. Granted there is no comparison, but I experienced just that.
I had to evacuate my mother on Monday, Oct. 9, 2017, and she had been staying with me since then. After taking her back to her house yesterday, I came home, laid down on the couch and could not get back up the rest of the day. I did not realize how emotionally and physically exhausted I was.
Watering down the roof at 4:00 A.M., fireproofing your property as much as possible, packing, unpacking, then packing again, loading the care (“do I have everything I need?”), getting ready to evacuate for when the order comes down (“where are we going to stay and for how long?”), helping friends and family, keeping track and notifying family and friends, running to the shelters to donate. I suppose sleeping with one eye open for 6 days doesn’t help. Oh yeah, and what about my customers and my business? But then again, I’m one of the fortunate ones. I’m getting a glimpse of what it must be like in a war zone.
It was one week ago today, at about 10:00pm that the Tubbs fire started just outside of Calistoga. It was about 200 acres by around midnight. It was 20,000 acres 12 hours later, perpetuated mainly by 50-70 mph winds. By then the fire had traversed the Mayacamas Mountain range and ignited the north side of Santa Rosa, incinerating neighborhoods in the prestigious Fountaingrove subdivision, the Hilton, Equus restaurant and historic Round Barn building.
The fire then jumped a six lane freeway and stormed through the Coffey Park subdivision (see below), indiscriminately obliterating homes and businesses in it’s path including a Kmart (Sears).
Last night, October 14, 2017, in the wooded hills east of Santa Rosa, where a mandatory evacuation remained in place, firefighters made a stand along Highway 12 to keep the fire from burning Oakmont, a retirement community and advancing onto the floor of Sonoma Valley, known for its wineries.
Today, Oct. 15th at 2:00 P.M. the Mandatory Evacuation order in Calistoga was lifted and relieved residents were able to return home. Firefighters successfully kept the fire from the scenic Wine Country town. You can still here planes and helicopters flying overhead all over wine country, providing an ominous backdrop notifying everyone that it’s not over yet.
Today: “Conditions have drastically changed from just 24 hours ago, and that is definitely a very good sign,” said Daniel Berlant, spokesman for California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, who noted that some of the fires were 50 percent or more contained. “It’s probably a sign we’ve turned a corner on these fires.”
Cash donations are the best way to assist Wine Country Fire Victims and the recovery efforts.
“Redwood Credit Union (RCU), in partnership with RCU Community Fund, The Press Democrat, and Senator Mike McGuire, is now accepting financial donations to aid relief efforts and assist victims of the 2017 North Bay fires. 100% of your tax-deductible donations will go directly to support those affected by the fires. RCU is picking up all the administration costs.
When you donate, you can choose to support any of the five counties affected: Sonoma, Marin, Napa, Mendocino, or Lake. You may also designate “all,” and your funds will be equally distributed among all five counties.”
The three photos below were taken by Kevin Vogt, my associate at Wine Country Connection Tasting Bar and Wine Shop in Yountville. Go visit Kevin and Linda and taste some great wines. 6484 Washington, Ste. E, Yountivlle, CA 94599
Wild Fire Statistics as of Oct 15, 2017
- Death Toll: 40 confirmed (Sonoma , Napa and Mendocino Counties) – numbers will most likely rise as they begin combing through the debris.
- Over 5,700 structures (homes and businesses) destroyed
- 221,000+ acres burned
- 100,000+ people evacuated, today down to 75,000
- 5,000 still in Shelters
- 11,000+ Firefighters battling 15 fires across a 100-mile swath of the state
- Firefighters from all over California, WA, OR, NV, UT, AZ, and from as far away as Australia.
ACTS OF RANDOM KINDNESS AND CHARITY
- Masseuses and Masseurs offering free massages at shelters, and for firefighters and first responders
- Hair Salons / Barber Shops offering free hair cuts or just washes to evacuees
- Pizza parlors donating food to shelters / first responders
- Outpouring of donations of clothes, toiletries, bedding, back packs, etc. – so much so that some shelters have stopped taking donations
Thanks again for all your kind messages of support and prayers. So many of you called and sent messages of encouragement. I can’t tell you how much that meant to me and my associates.