REDWOOD CITY, Calif. – What’s left of once serene, picturesque communities in California — are homes reduced to ashes, thanks to a pair of explosive wildfires ravaging the state.
The Valley Fire, affecting Lake, Sonoma and Napa counties, have so far consumed 67,000 acres, displaced 13,000 people, threatened 9,000 structures, destroyed close to 600 homes and killed one person. More than 2,000 firefighters have managed to contain 15% of the fire.
The Butte Fire, east of Sacramento, has burned over 71,000 acres, displaced 10,000, threatened 6,400 structures and destroyed more than 280 homes and buildings. So far, 37% have been contained.
California Governor Jerry Brown has declared a state of emergency in four counties. Brown said, “These are the serious fires. People have been killed. Hundreds of structures — more than that, actually — have been destroyed, and more to come. We don’t predict, because fire is indeterminate. We don’t know what happens until it actually starts .. starts burning.”
Never did Arlene Azarcon think her retirement home and two other properties would be decimated in the Valley Fire. Azarcon, who is now vacationing in Madrid, was shocked when her house was shown burning in an ABC news report. She expressed, “It’s hard. It’s hard-earned money but they’re just material things and I can always recover.”
Even when a neighbor sent her images of her properties — all burned to the ground — Azarcon chose to find hope and reason amid the tragedy. “Actually, I feel fortunate because I’m alive and I feel like God has a reason for it – get a new life and I just have to move on,” she said.
All three of Azarcon’s destroyed properties were owned outright. But she failed to get insurance for all of them. Still, she knows she can rebuild, upon her return to the Bay Area next week.
She related, “I just pray and know that there’s a reason for this and just to learn that whatever we experience in our life is a life lesson that we have to learn from and that you can’t do anything about the past and what has happened and just accept and move on.”
Governor Brown stated that more and bigger wildfires are on the way — and this is mostly because of climate change and California’s historic drought. California has sought help for additional crews from other states and has also tapped the National Guard to deal with the worsening fire season.
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