We reported a few days back about the terrifying wildfires that had struck California, and as expected, things have gotten much worse. With the Santa Ana winds still at large, the fires are still growing, more are popping up and more land and buildings are being destroyed. What once were cities full of people and life, now appear as scenes from a war.
When you look at aerial views before and after, the comparisons are shocking to say the least. Some of these images have left me practically in tears for people I’ve never even met. The fires are continuing to grow, the death toll has risen, and tens of thousands are displaced. There are still many people missing, families are separated, and hearts broken.
Fire fighters have been on duty non-stop, most working 2 and sometimes 3 shifts in a row. The fires are not contained, and the damage is unprecedented. What started out as a small 200 acre fire (which isn’t even all that small) has resulted in hundreds of thousands of acres burned and destroyed. People are saying it looks like a bomb went off in their town.
So far, 29 people have been reported dead, while hundreds of people are still missing. Over 170,000 acres have been burned, and some 3500 homes and business are completely destroyed, several thousand others are damaged. These numbers are expected to grow as people begin to survey the damage in still burning areas.
The reason there have been so many deaths has to do with the vast unpredictability of these wildfires. Thousands were evacuated before the fires reached their areas, but some remained in there homes. All of a sudden, because of the winds, the fires spread to areas that weren’t expected to be hit. One family talked about how they were in there home and all of a sudden there was a fire in their back yard. The quickly scrambled to get themselves and their 11 month baby out of the house and within 5 minutes they say there house was just completely gone.
Because of how fast the wildfires are growing and spreading due to the winds, people who may have been able to escape with a little more time or some help weren’t able to make it out alive. A 28 year old in Santa Rosa who was bound to a wheelchair was not able to escape his apartment when it caught fire and died. Another instance, a 98 year old woman and her 100 year old husband died together in the fire while trying to escape.
The fires are still blazing out of control and it is unclear as to when firefighters are going to be able to get a hold of them. The devastation left behind is unprecedented and heart breaking. I pray for all of those who were affected by these fires, losing everything is something that is unfathomable until it actually happens to you.
I will continue to update as the wildfires develop. Stay tuned.