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The Very Real Horrors of Wine Country and How You Can Help

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In the northern California counties of Sonoma and Napa during the late hours of October 8, 2017, while people slept in their beds, a very real monster of fire, smoke, and devastation was born, which to this date has claimed over forty lives (with dozens more missing and presumed dead), destroyed entire communities (over 5,700 structures and 213,000 acres have burned to the ground, with thousands of residents and their animals displaced), and reduced to ash the valley in which I was raised, leaving only one house standing: ironically, my family’s former home and the one in which I grew up.

The sheer devastation and ferocity of the Santa Rosa fires cannot be overstated, and the result has been likened to the literal effects of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. The Tubbs Fire alone, fueled by 70-mile-per-hour winds, traveled ten miles in less than six hours, engulfing nearly everything in its path, from private residences to priceless landmarks, causing an estimated $4.6 billion in damage. Some residents made heroic stands (77-year-old Peter Lang chose to let his own residence burn in a successful bid to instead save over 1,000 exotic animals from perishing in the fires that ravaged Safari West Wildlife Preserve). Others were heartbreaking (trapped married couple Armando and Carmen Berriz sought refuge in their pool from the blaze, breaking the water’s surface only to gulp smoky air; she died in his arms). Others still were trapped and burned to death in their homes, some of which I knew.

And still the fires rage.

Santa Rosa Fires Drone Video by Douglas Thron October 10, 2017:

Live Stream TV News:

You’ve more than likely visited this once idyllic region of rolling hills, majestic oaks and vineyards, either in person or through cinema (Wes Craven shot Scream there, as did Jim Gillespie a portion of I Know What You Did Last Summer). Notables in the horror community call it their childhood home, from Halloween 6 writer Daniel Farrands, who graduated from Santa Rosa High School, to Scream Queen short filmmaker turned Los Angeles resident Elisabeth Fies and many more. And, like me, they too know those who have been affected by what is the worst fire in the history of the state of California, and perhaps so do you.

So, how can you help? Below you’ll find a link to Santa Rosa newspaper The Press Democrat for a list of resources, and we humbly and strongly urge you to do so. So many have lost so much, resources are stretched hopelessly thin, and they desperately need your help.

Thousands of people are displaced and in need of help this week and in the days to come. Here’s where you can volunteer, donate, and support fire victims and their pets.

How to help: Volunteer and/or donate food, supplies, and money to support Sonoma County fire victims: pressdemocrat.com.

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