At BOCA, this reminds us to take a step back and to think about how lucky we are to have what we have, be where we are and to give when we can.
Everyone stop for a second and consider what’s happening around us. In the San Francisco Bay Area alone, Dreamforce is underway, Oracle and Adobe had their earnings calls and the anticipated iPhone 6s is projected to beat sales records.
While we’re in the Silicon Valley hustling and bustling…looking for the next tech unicorn, what’s happening with the rest of the world…with the rest of California…or even just two hours away?
The Valley fire, joining the Butte fire, is taking Northern California by storm. The source, to be confirmed, started in Cobb on Saturday afternoon. The smoke quickly expanded and hovered like clouds before a large downpour of rain, confusing many residents. Quickly, the dry grassland (thank you climate change and global warming) was engulfed by the flames. Steered by heavy winds, the flames were directed straight toward Middletown and Hidden Valley Lake.
Then, the evacuation process began. In a rural area with limited cell service, alerts were not triggered. Notifications were issued publicly online, people were rushing the streets shouting and calling loved ones, telling family, friends and neighbors to evacuate.
With construction on Mt. St. Helena (one of two routes to exit the mountain), it was clear traffic was going to be a nightmare. Many turned around in an effort to recollect additional belongings and find their pets, while others sat in panic and waited out the traffic.
Residents escaped to evacuation shelters across Calistoga, Clearlake and Kelseyville. Others stayed with close friends or family members.
The hardest part of the entire process is the waiting game. Waiting to find out if your house fell victim to the flames, or if by some miracle, it was missed. Of course the waiting game reignites each morning, in the case the flames took a new course overnight. Those with cable and Internet access scan the web, social networks and television networks for updates. Scrolling through photos and videos available for any sign their home is still there.
One by one, Facebook status updates and GoFundMe pages have been popping up left and right, supporting families that had lost their homes and everything in it. While the essentials are replaceable, many things are not. Those impacted are now haunted by the happy memories that were so easily burned away.
As of Wednesday evening, 70,200 acres were burned with only 35 percent contained, 585 homes destroyed, four firefighters had second-degree burns and one civilian fatality.
At BOCA, this reminds us to take a step back and to think about how lucky we are to have what we have, be where we are and to give when we can. This post was written, because the fire impacted not only our fellow California residents, but our very own friends and families. We do not take it lightly and want to do everything we can to help.
Please stand with us and give back to those who need us. Let’s unite as a city, county, state and country to donate what we can and rebuild when this is all over, whether it’s through awareness or physical donations.