I am a creature of habit. I like my routines. They make the small tasks easier and less time consuming. That allows me to focus on more important matters. I get cranky when those routines are disturbed for more than a few days.
when my sister and nephew’s family had to evacuate their homes during the Camp Fire in Butte County, I could not begin to imagine the disturbance and devastation that comes from such a disaster. My sister, her grand-daughter, grand-daughter’s friend and small dog, spent eight hours on a cement parking lot. They were waiting, along with first-res-ponders, for a way to break through the flames that enveloped one of the two main escape routes known as the Skyway. They were fortunate. The escaped without injury. The first-res-ponders were amazing.
If you have seen the videos or photos of the Camp Fire, my sister, and nephew assure me, they are not exaggerations. Flames, whipped by wind, towered over forty-foot tall pine and redwood. The thick black smoke changed the blue sky to black in minutes. The air was toxic. When the flames died down and moved away from Paradise and Magalia, the area looked as if a bomb had dropped. There were some surviving homes, but even those most likely suffered damage from the smoke and soot.
So what is next? No comforting routines or habits will help. Those are gone and will only be re-established in the future. The only thing that can be done is to take one step at a time. Food, clothing and shelter first, and then consider long-term issues. Do you rebuild, or do you move? If you move, where to? How long will it take to rebuild the infrastructure to support homes and business?
There are groups tackling the long-range issues. Paradise School District had found buildings in nearby Chico to house their students. School will re-open on December 3, 2018. The schools are an important community center, particularly in a small town of 27,000.
Paradise, Magalia and the residents of Butte County will need all the help they can get, both short-term and long-term. You can contribute to victims of the fire and first-responders in several ways. Cash and gift cards are always appreciated and offer the most flexibility. The Salvation Army and Red Cross are collecting donations and can be found on-line. Firefighter support sites include Members, International Association of Firefighters Charitable Foundation, North Bay Fire Relief through the Redwood Credit Union and NVFC Volunteer Firefighter Support Fund, all found on-line.
Part of the history of Paradise. My BFWW won the prize for the Best Reconditioned Production Car – a 1922 Willys. The event, sponsored by the Horseless Carriage Association of America, took place in the town of Paradise in the 1960’s.