Fire update

Hey folks, I thought I'd post a little update in case you're interested.  The fire is still spreading, and it's jumped the river at a spot I think everybody was hoping would stay contained, so that's not good.  It's also heading towards more small communities.  But it has, at least, slowed for the moment.

Regular citizens are not yet allowed up to Paradise -- there are downed trees and power lines all over the place -- but we are getting some news about what has and has not been preserved.  We were happy to hear today that the public library up there is still intact, which is good news as it can serve people in many ways during whatever rebuilding will happen.  Otherwise, the news is mostly bad -- you can see videos all over Facebook, and they're devastating.  I know a lot of people who have confirmed that their houses have gone, and one who knows it's still there.  Others just don't know yet.  And we have over 40 confirmed dead; that number will continue to rise.

Housing is going to be a serious problem.  They're saying that 15% of the housing in our county is gone.  Even with squishing, and some people simply not coming back, we can't house everybody.  I hear they're bringing in temporary housing.  Right now a lot of people are still at large shelters, some are camping in parks (or the Walmart parking lot, which now has an RV town), or staying with host families.  You have to understand, Paradise was a pretty low-income town and had a large number of elderly residents as well.  A lot of people won't be able to afford rentals in Chico, or to rebuild.  And of course many of them have lost their jobs too.

Here's a photo of me and the kids today as we went out and ran some errands.  Wearing a properly-rated face mask is super-important; the air is full of gunk.

A buddy is calling this #CaliStyle
I've mentioned before that I work at a community college, and it so happens that the campus was placed in the middle of nowhere, pretty well equidistant from all three of the main towns in the county.  It's currently being used as a staging area for the firefighters, and it nearly burned too.  So the power is off, there's damage to the water and sewer lines, there's ash everywhere...they're going to aim at two weeks to get everything up and running again, but it's hard to say.  Worse, well over 100 faculty and staff are now homeless, and goodness knows how many students.  So they're still figuring out how to make things work -- as are all the schools, even if the campuses weren't in physical danger.

 There is plenty to do related to the fire, but nothing else.  Tomorrow, our high school is hosting a get-together for teens -- there will be 'shopping,' gift cards, and the band is hoping to have Paradise band kids come to a party.  I'll also be sorting books for shelters instead of for the book sale, especially kids' books.  My quilt guild has scheduled some marathon sewing sessions and has probably made a goal to give everybody a quilt.  My church is acting as a one-stop everything shop, offering help with paperwork, professional counseling, free food and clothes, and coordinating host families.  Every organization in town is doing anything anybody can think of.

If by any chance you'd like to help, it's money that is needed.  BUT you have to be careful; GoFundMes are proliferating, but they aren't all legitimate.  Scammers have been using real victims' names to start fundraisers.  So, it's important to verify the authenticity of any fundraiser, and I'd advise using the large, official ones if you don't actually know the people involved.  For example, this Camp Fire Fund between a local bank and the TV stations.  Or this fund for the many students at my college who are now homeless, started by the college president.

Well, that is a long and depressing post, but it seems like some folks might be interested.


  1. I took a look at some photos and wow, it looks just awful! Beyond awful! From one of the photos I see you're using our water bombers, so that's great that everyone is pulling together to help. Keeping you and your State in my prayers!

  2. It's unreal, I can't even imagine. Thanks for the update. Thinking of you and your community!

  3. Thanks for the update Jean - glad to hear you and your family are safe. As someone who also lives in a bushfire prone country, I understand the fear you're all living with right now.

    I've just read a book called The Arsonist about the worst bushfires in Australian history just ten years ago. The fire was ferocious and the bush is still recovering, but recover it did, with time. It's harder for the folks who lost people though.

  4. Oh Jean, I am so sorry for the devastation you and so many are experiencing. I am thankful you are safe, we will all be looking for your updates. Thanks for the tip about fundraising scams and the guidance to some legit ones.

  5. I'm glad that you and your family are safe. Really, that is the most important thing, right?

  6. How much of that fire is contained? It's so hard to get a clear details. Plus, it's like the media combines both the Camp Fire and Malibu Fire (It's called something else). They even combined the death toll from both, although I heard today there were three confirmed dead from the Malibu fire, which leaves the rest to the Camp Fire.

    It's almost like A Tale of Two Cities, if you compare the two fires. God surely does not discriminate. : (

  7. This morning they say 40% contained (yay!), and 53 confirmed dead. They will find more; they've brought cadaver dogs and are searching the whole town.

    Also, norovirus is spreading in the shelters and I seem to have picked it up too. I'm a useless wreck today.

  8. I'm so sorry to hear about what the people in your area are going through. Thank you for sharing this information, it's helpful to hear from real people rather than just the news. I will definitely be giving so thank you for the suggestions. My very best wishes for your family and community.

  9. What an absolute nightmare. I'm sorry you're so close to it all, but so happy to hear you're still safe.

  10. I'm so sorry that your area is going through this. Down where I am, we don't know fires, but we have some experience of hurricanes, and it sounds like a lot of the aftermath problems are similar. Thank you for sharing some links to places we can donate -- I don't trust the American Red Cross, and I always prefer to donate to local organizations for any recovery work.

  11. I'm relieved that you and your kiddos are safe and making the best of that #CaliStyle!

    Helpers like you & those community organizations like your quilting group are what make disaster recovery actually possible at a local level. So, from someone who has both been a helper and needed them: Thank you. May you and your loved ones continue to stay safe and well, too.


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