Author Topic: Checking in from the NorCal fires.  (Read 1271 times)

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iMaiden

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Checking in from the NorCal fires.
« on: October 10, 2017, 03:05:00 pm »
Some of you (oldsters) probably remember that I am a Sonoma County resident. I am fine, my cat is fine, my home is fine.

I do live in the evacuation area and pretty much everything between my apartment in Rincon Valley (Santa Rosa) to the Mark West Springs area (where I work) is completely gone. I've never seen anything like it. I've had no power for a couple of days and don't see that happening any time very soon so it's indoor camping for me and we are under a dusk to dawn curfew to try to curb looting. Although the police and fire presence from all over the state has been absolutely phenomenal.

I consider myself extremely fortunate at this time as I know several of my coworkers have lost their homes.

I'm sitting at a downtown coffee shop, where I can plug in my phone and iPad and get some wifi. Speaking of which...everyone run out today and buy yourself a cell phone battery backup--and remember to charge it. Finding a place 1) with power 2) where I can plug in for a little while, has been an extreme challenge. Oddly my phone was actually still losing power while plugged into my car...because the phone is old and it was getting flooded with texts and calls I guess when I wanted it to charge. Ok...now it really is time for a new phone. :P

There are currently 17 fires actively burning, I am saying a prayer for all of those displaced people and the firefighters working so hard to try to contain the fires.

Update: PG&E estimates power back on for me in 1 week. Ugh, my water heater is electric...note to self; must find a friend with a shower.
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Gatecon

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Re: Checking in from the NorCal fires.
« Reply #1 on: October 10, 2017, 03:31:18 pm »
Thanks for letting us know how you are - and glad to hear you are safe and have avoided the damage and destruction.

The looting is the one thing I can never understand or accept during any disaster scenario. The morons behind it are scum, when people are already suffering.

Please continue to stay safe and give us another update when you are able. Fingers crossed they manage to get the power back on sooner.
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taeles

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Re: Checking in from the NorCal fires.
« Reply #2 on: October 10, 2017, 03:35:51 pm »
-hugs-

my sister is in SoCal, the rv park they live in they can see fires in three directions but none closing in on them. just smoke and ash in the air.

wilyone

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Re: Checking in from the NorCal fires.
« Reply #3 on: October 11, 2017, 10:53:09 am »
Thanks for posting iMaiden that you are safe.

Due to the natural disasters, we have a few go bags set up in the house.  Portable phone chargers are in the kit.  I haven't gone back and checked the charge levels in a few months though.  I should go and do that tonight.  (Technically we also have a charger in one of the cars and my travel kit.) 

I did catch the builtin that for folks in Wine country, the water must be boiled before you can drink it or cook with it.  Of course, this was for folks that have low water pressure, but if I was in wine country, I'd be boiling my tap water for the near future regardless of water pressure. 

A colleague of mine told me that 2 streets down, the houses were under mandatory evacuation.  I haven't heard from him since Monday night.  I'm assuming he is without power and at home with his family.

iMaiden

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Re: Checking in from the NorCal fires.
« Reply #4 on: October 11, 2017, 03:20:45 pm »
Thanks for the good thoughts. I'm back at the coffee shop again for my daily charge up. Today I also brought the charge base and packs to my power tools (which includes a big light). --Plus I'm bored stiff at home so im moving some shelving and want to use my power drill.

I know people say they can't believe it when something like this happens, but we are into day three now and I still can't believe it. I've lived in Tahoe and have seen big fires there and in the Santa Cruz mountains...There are big fires up here too but we think of them happening in the hills and woodland areas. Santa Rosa is a large populated area (175,000 ppl), very much the burbs.

Starting as one fire then whipped by some crazy windy weather, carrying flaming embers for miles, was split into 4 separate fires. Ultimately consuming areas of town that I am shocked to see gone. As the fire burned and jumped right over the freeway which runs dead center through town taking out the local KMart, Applebee's, McDonalds, Bank, 200 room Hilton Hotel, and countless other businesses as well as 100's of homes. The Luther Burbank Center for the Performing Arts still had smoldering buildings when I drove by yesterday and all of their large beautiful outdoor sculptures are gone. It is so incredibly sad.

I technically live in an evacuated area but directly across the street has not been evacuated so I have stayed. Today the one other hold out in my apartment complex decided to leave so I will probably be going to a friend's house for tonight as the fire just to the south of me has picked up as well as the fire to the north.

I myself have been pretty lax about a go-bag...and bottled water, batteries, flashlights, etc. are in short supply in the stores right now. I've got my basic needs as well as more water and batteries that I picked up yesterday but will definitely be reassessing my emergency plan and provisions after this. um particularly with Trump in office.  :P

I did get a shower today! Yay! I had a friend also without power but with a working gas water heater. Ahhhh

Stay safe everyone.

« Last Edit: October 11, 2017, 03:41:18 pm by iMaiden »
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iMaiden

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Re: Checking in from the NorCal fires.
« Reply #5 on: October 11, 2017, 03:33:50 pm »
Oh and as side note... it really does help to have an old fashioned battery operated radio or something like that as well. Cell service has been super spotty. They say we've lost 17 cell towers in Sonoma County. The first day I could barely get a cell signal and the data signal simply dropped away. There was just no icon at all where it would normally show LTE or Wi-fi or whatever. I could still kind of access data but then it would drop away. It's gotten a little better but with so much power outage, and landlines gone, simply everyone is on a cell...and all using the remaing towers which really bogs it down. Our local radio station is broadcasting with an emergency generator system and doing an awesome job with the emergency responders and keeping people updated with emergency info as well as dispelling rumors so I've been listening in my car. There is also an emergency website to check...however I've been conserving my phone battery as much as possible at home and only checking that periodically.
« Last Edit: October 11, 2017, 03:35:22 pm by iMaiden »
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iMaiden

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Re: Checking in from the NorCal fires.
« Reply #6 on: October 11, 2017, 03:40:19 pm »
Yep, just got a Sonoma county sheriff's advisory on my phone for two more areas to evacuate. Hold on tight, it's going to be a bumpy night.
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Re: Checking in from the NorCal fires.
« Reply #7 on: October 12, 2017, 09:35:27 am »
Hope you had a safe spot to sleep last night.  Woke up to find that Calistoga is now threatened by the fires.  Hopefully this gets contained soon.  Air quality South of you is pretty bad right now.  Compared to Sonoma county though, it is down right refreshing.  I've never seen the air quality map show hazardous before. 

I'd ask to see if we could spare a room for you but I'm heading out of country on business.  Not quite sure how the family would react since I'm not home.  Sorry.   :-[

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Re: Checking in from the NorCal fires.
« Reply #8 on: October 12, 2017, 11:39:39 am »
These fires are so horrible, and I'm sorry you have to see & go through so much destruction.  They have been showing the police on the news with those air filter masks on.  So be very careful of your lungs, and try to get out of there swiftly if needed.

My thoughts are definitely with everyone over there, it's so scary.

iMaiden

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Re: Checking in from the NorCal fires.
« Reply #9 on: October 12, 2017, 03:02:34 pm »
They've expanded the area in front of my place to now be an "evacuation advisory zone" now and I'm not sure when my work will reopen so I'm heading to my brother's house in the Santa Cruz area. Last night I had all of the blinds open and I kept imagining that I was seeing orange...I didn't sleep a wink. My cat is coming with and he's going to hate it.

The recovery is going to be tremendous. Today California Office of Emergency Services held a press conference at the veteran's hall in Santa Rosa along with CalFire, local fire, police and government officials. In the city of Santa Rosa over 2400 residential structures have been burned and over 410 square feet of business structures. 14 lives lost (21 so far in Sonoma County) and that number is expected to rise, over 4000 people were in the available shelters but that number has come down as people find other places to go. Two fires are at 0% containment and the Tubbs fire next to me is still only at 10% containment.

And here I go breaking my rule of sharing personal info but I feel that the aftermath of the devastion is going to be huge.
I work as a chef, part of the John Ash team at the Vintner's Inn in Santa Rosa. We have a very large staff of people (our little "village" of nearly 200 employees) who work on a beautiful farm to table property of approximately 80 acres of chardonnay grapes. We are a hotel of 44 rooms in 3 villas with more "villas" currently under construction to double the size of the property by next year. We have 3 restaurant kitchens; John Ash & Co., the River Vine Cafe and a 10,000 sq ft. event center as well as a full off-site catering team We are also a self sustained green property with a series of water reclamation ponds. Yes, there are even goats that get to eat our kitchen scraps. It's obvious that I love where I work, but my point is that we are a service industry (one of many) sitting in an evacuated and burned area. In fact we are located just on the other side of the freeway from the Luther Burbank Center that I mentioned yesterday. The property is closed until further notice. Some of my coworkers lost homes, many are displaced, all are without work. I can barely wrap my head around our little village and it's recovery, let alone the many other homes and businesses that will be dealing with this.

Housing has already been the number one issue in Santa Rosa over the past few years (just not enough for the demand). Rental vacancies have been down to less than 1% causing a spike in the market to raise the average cost of a 1 bedroom apartment up over $1600/mo. ...like I said, this is supposed to be the burbs. It will be interesting, to say the least, to see what happens now. I've already heard of one person getting an eviction notice because their landlord was burned out. Jeez the week isn't even through yet.

We are so so lucky to still be here to post and exclaim about the tragedy, truly. It will however be a long road to recovery.

PS. Yes, I will be filing for FEMA unemployment benefits.

#making it work , right?
« Last Edit: October 12, 2017, 03:09:39 pm by iMaiden »
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iMaiden

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Re: Checking in from the NorCal fires.
« Reply #10 on: October 12, 2017, 03:08:46 pm »
Oh and thank you wilyone but I have several offers for a place, a couple of family members who live closer than my brother too but I'd rather go there.

I still can't say enough about how great the police and fire response and presence have been, this is something that I will never forget.
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taeles

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Re: Checking in from the NorCal fires.
« Reply #11 on: October 12, 2017, 05:20:33 pm »
You can stay with mrs taeles and I, we have lotsa cookies!

iMaiden

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Re: Checking in from the NorCal fires.
« Reply #12 on: October 12, 2017, 10:40:54 pm »
In Santa Cruz now...with my cat. Goodnight.   ^-^
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wilyone

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Re: Checking in from the NorCal fires.
« Reply #13 on: October 13, 2017, 09:46:21 am »
Glad to hear you are in Santa Cruz and away from the fires.

Once everything is settled down, I'll have to drag the puppers and family up to the area and patronize some of the local establishments that are open for business.  It is a shame that I seldom go that far North on 101.  Highway 29, sure, but not 101. 

iMaiden

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Re: Checking in from the NorCal fires.
« Reply #14 on: October 13, 2017, 09:19:59 pm »
Thanks everyone for letting me freak out a little here. My evacuation was lifted but i’ll be staying the weekend.

The Vintner’s Inn property will be reopening in stages (hopefully) beginning next Wednesday. The phones and computer systems were fried so those are being replaced. Our gas is unfortunately on the same grid as Coffey Park so that will the hold up getting the restaurants open in a couple of weeks. Many of us will be going in for lots of clean up hopefully by next week.

Ok time for a real night’s sleep. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Take care of yourselves everyone.
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