This is a totally written from my heart post. Please bare with me.
I am assuming, by now, you have heard about the huge wildfire that started Thursday morning and has gone through Paradise, California and the surrounding areas. #Campfire (worst tag name ever)
My mother-in-law currently lives in that town, my husband and I grew up there and my parents used to live there. We know MANY people who still live there – friends, acquaintances, family of friends, friends of my mother-in-law and my parents former neighbors and others.
My mother-in-law escaped from Paradise, CA. She left within minutes of the emergency call with the minimum – medicine, some important papers, some food and two days of clothes. It took her over 4 hours to get out of town due to the gridlock.
Paradise is on a ridge and there are only three main roads out, but two were blocked due to fire. Over 27,000 people live in the town of Paradise and probably about 30,000 live in the area above Paradise with no direct roads out without going through Paradise.
The inside of her car still smells like smoke. If you have seen a video of someone driving with flames, etc on the sides of the road that could have been my mother-in-law, but she was in solid traffic, which was mostly stopped. She had to drive/ sit next to burning cars, burning trees, burning buildings, etc.
It will be a miracle if her house survives, but she is alive and currently at our house. We are very thankful that my father-in-law died seven months ago or they probably would not have gotten out of the house in time.
We have heard that some other people we know are also safe, but we haven’t heard from everyone. Per the news over 6,500 houses and 200 businesses have been destroyed already.
Some people, who don’t live there, think the fire probably spread so fast due to people not clearing their brush, etc. That is NOT true. My mother-in-law lives on an oversized city lot with no brush. I will say that the ‘public’ forests in the outlying area have not been logged, etc in a long time. Also, there were 50 mph gusts and 30-35 mph sustained winds.
What I am thankful:
- That my mother-in-law and the others we have heard from are safe
- For the fire fighters and emergency people who got so many people out safely
- For the community – I am already seeing posts of former high school classmates that are offering help, when they are allowed in
- I am thankful that my mother-in-law is still able to drive
- I am thankful that we had discussed what my mother-in-law would do if she had to evacuate – where she would drive to so we could meet her (we live too far away for her to have driven to our house by herself)
- I am thankful that my mother-in-law only had to worry about herself
- I am also very thankful for her car and that she had plenty of gas in the car
What I am asking for:
- please pray for Paradise, CA – the people who evacuated, the people who didn’t survive, the families / friends who are still wondering about their loved ones
- please donate to the emergency funds
- Please hug your family and call your extended family and tell them that you care for them. This life is short and you never know when / where a disaster will occur.
- Please forgive me if I don’t post much lately. My heart is just not into it right now, but when I do it will hopefully be the good things in life.