I don’t think of all the misery, but of the beauty that remains.
– Ann Frank
Beauty suddenly appeared today, followed by hope. The sun and blue skies emerged briefly through the smoke this afternoon, so I took a walk for the first time in two weeks. I picked a tiny brilliant orange flower as a celebration of the return of beauty. And the return of hope.
Last week, the EPA officially ranked air quality in Northern California “very unhealthy,” and one local monitoring organization labeled it the most dangerous in the world. We were advised to stay indoors as much as possible and wear a mask at all times when outside. The smoke was so bad that for the first time, almost everyone I encountered complied, and even Amazon ran out of masks.
The walk today without a mask lifted my spirits immensely. Thankfully, the dense, toxic gray smoke has finally begun to recede in the Bay Area. Rain is forecast for the next three days and is predicted to douse the Camp Fire, now 75% contained, clear away the remaining smoke, and give firefighters a much needed Thanksgiving at home with their families.
I was so relieved, and I remembered what Dorothy said, “There’s no place like home.” And thousands of people in Paradise no longer have homes and are now living in tents in a Walmart parking lot without a car, few provisions, unstable shelter, no rain gear and many without hope.
How Can We Help Camp Fire Survivors?
Here are a few things we can do to help those who have lost everything in the most devastating fire in California’s history. Go to https://campfirebutte.recovers.org/ and donate money, food, gift certificates, and other items listed on an Amazon link where evacuees have named the things they need most at this challenging time in their lives. If you can, please donate today as people in this area are really struggling. If you can’t donate and live near the area, consider volunteering to help in one of the many ways so badly needed.
Many pets and animals have lost their homes as well, and are struggling to find food, shelter, and care for their injuries. The Humane Society of the United States has first responders on the ground rescuing animals through their Emergency Animal Rescue Fund at https://humanesocietyoftheunitedstates.com.
Locally, the Butte Humane Society is rescuing and caring for injured animals and reuniting pets with their owners. Even the smallest donation can help at https://buttehumanesociety.com/. Consider fostering an animal until their owners are found, or adopting animals who no longer have owners or homes.
How Can We Help Camp Fire Farm Animals?
Much of the rural land surrounding Paradise that supported farm animals and livestock was reduced to ash by the Camp Fire, and those farm animals also need food, shelter and treatment for their injuries. To help, go to https://www.butteagfoundation.org and donate to the Camp Fire Animal Agriculture Assistance Fund. Their need is great and any amount is appreciated.
I heard on the radio that in anticipation of heavy rains this week, Cal Fire has declared an end to the 2018 Northern California Fire Season. The applause in the room erupted instantly as valiant men and women who have been fighting for almost two weeks to save the lives of people and animals affected by the Camp Fire breathed a much needed sigh of relief.
Let’s pray that after the rain, the sun is shining, the skies are blue, beauty appears, and everyone is safe. Let’s assist those less fortunate by giving whatever we can through our hearts, hands and pockets to help the people and animals of Paradise thrive as they rebuild their lives and community. In the charitable spirit of this holiday season, there’s no better way to give hope than to those who are struggling in your own back yard, the state you live in or the country you love.
In the love of hope,