Update on my family as we wait out the Kincade Fire

Hey everyone. I wanted to offer a quick update on what’s going on in my neck of the woods. I live in Northern California where we’re experiencing a horrible and terrifying fire emergency – the Kincade Fire. First, I want to assure you that my family and I are safe. While we live only a few towns away from this rapidly spreading fire, we’ve so far escaped evacuation orders, plus the rolling PG&E blackouts so many of our neighbors are experiencing. Our family is one of the fortunate ones. The most we’ve experienced are the freaky hurricane-like gusts of wind, and a lot of smoke.

Unfortunately, many of the people in our community are not so fortunate. This fire comes just two years after the Tubbs fire devastated our community. So many people lost their homes, and are only just now moving into their rebuilt homes – only to be told to evacuate again. You can imagine how traumatic this is for someone who has already experienced the nightmare of losing their home. The difference this time is how prepared our community is for this kind of emergency. Two years ago, people were given mere minutes in the dead of night to get out. This time, people are being evacuated early to ensure firefighters can focus on fighting the fire and not conducting rescue missions.

The latest report (at 2 p.m., Monday, Oct. 28) is that the fire has consumed more than 66,000 acres, burned 96 structures (40 homes), and is threatening 80,000 structures. More than 185,000 people have been evacuated. My town, which is out of the evac zone, has easily twice the number of people than usual, and every parking lot is full of cars and RVs from people who can’t go home. Capping that off, more than half our town is without power. Again, I’m one of the lucky ones this time. So many residents here in town are on well water which means that they have no water at all without power. And you can imagine the amount of food that’s being thrown away, especially for restaurants and grocery stores.

All of this is just to let you know what’s going on with me since I know many of you don’t live nearby, to assure you that I’m okay, and to also give you a heads up about my posting schedule here. I’d already planned to update a little less over the next few weeks since NaNoWriMo is just around the corner, and I’ll be living in my writing cave. That wasn’t supposed to happen until next week, but because of the fires, I’ve decided to start early. It just seems hard to write about the books I’m reading while my county is on fire, you know?

After November, I plan to get back to a more regular blog schedule. I’ve really loved the community here, and I’m not going anywhere – I’m just moving from three times a week to one.

I hope you and your families are doing well, and that everyone is safe. Love to you all!

P.S. I cannot say enough about all the people who are giving tirelessly during this fire emergency. The first responders, first and foremost. But there are also the people serving in the many shelters, people donating items, people giving up their space for evacuees, businesses donating food and items, and so much more. Mr. Rogers said “Look for the helpers” when it comes to traumatic emergencies like this. You don’t have to look far here. People are amazing.

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