Letters to the Editor
Thank you, Sonoma County Animal ControlAt 3 a.m. on Oct. 9, my “rescue” dog rescued me with his constant whining. I live a mile up Trinity Road and when I looked outside, the fire was rapidly coming up the mountainside. I quickly got my dog into the car, but my five horses were so excited, I could not get a halter on any of them. I had no choice but to give each one a kiss, say a prayer and let them go. I felt certain I would never see them again.
The next morning a firefighter called me and said that my horses were back, but I would not be allowed to go up Trinity Road to check on them or feed them. Fortunately, three wonderful neighbors who had stayed were able to get to over to my place to feed the horses.
When I was finally allowed back on my property, I found two notices from Sonoma County Animal Control on a stall. My first thought was “Oh no, now what do they want?”
I was very pleasantly surprised to find that those notices contained hand written notes from Sonoma County Animal Control officers saying that they had fed and watered my horses. On one day, the note even told me which horse had been lying down, but was now up and about. They are truly the unsung heroes to my five horses and me. They should be recognized along with all the other first responders and rescue workers for all their hard and compassionate work those very long days.
Sonoma County Animal Control, thank you very much.
Diaablo, Shasta, Dali, Mojo and Dream
Eternal gratitude to SRFD Engine #7During this time of applauding and honoring the first responders who risked their lives during the October wildfires, my wife and I would like to single out the superheroes from Santa Rosa Fire Department Engine #7, stationed in Oakmont. We were among the thousands who abruptly and fearfully fled their homes on that fateful night of Oct. 8, wondering if we would ever see our house again. Those days and nights away under mandatory evacuation filled with anxiety and dread as the nightmare in our beloved county continued to unfold. The reports we were hearing were not good for our Kenwood neighborhood, especially as the fires continued to destroy homes there and in the surrounding areas for more than 24 hours. Like all evacuees, we were determined to return as soon as possible so we could see firsthand what fate had in store for us.
When we were finally able to reenter Kenwood, we made that slow, gut-wrenching drive through our neighborhood, passing one destroyed neighbor’s home after another, which only served to seal our expectations of what we would encounter when we arrived at our house. As we turned on our lane and approached our house, what we saw defied common sense. Appearing above the burned treetops was our roofline. Could it be? I quickened our pace in the car and squeezed my wife’s leg as our house came into full view before us, still standing. Throwing the car into park we opened the doors and both fell to our knees with simultaneous disbelief and joy. After several minutes of tears and hugging in this surreal scene, we proceeded to survey our surrounding property, still smoldering from spot fires on all four sides.
Why and how our house was spared surrounded by all this destruction would remain a complete mystery for just a few more hours until Engine #7 rolled up to the front of our house. Captain Wesley David, Engineer Gunner Dean and Firefighter AJ Armanini hopped off their rig to greet us and tell us they were on scene during the night of the fires and described how the three of them defended homes with only the water on their rig and the tools in their hands. Unfortunately, it was not possible to save all the homes on our lane. The miracle of our home was a combination of how the wind was blowing, luck, and of course the courageous efforts of Wes, Gunner and AJ. This is not a time for rejoicing when our neighbors, friends and so many thousands of others are facing devastating loss. But we are filled with gratitude for the good fortune we received. We know the only real way to express that gratitude is to pay it forward by giving back to our community in the coming months and years as our county heals and recovers.
BJ and Amy Favaro
An appreciative evacueeOn Oct. 9, at 3:19 in the morning, I got a robo-call on my landline telling me to evacuate my home immediately because of fire in the area. Heading to Sonoma, I was stopped on Warm Springs Road by fire on both sides of the road. Luckily, I safely made my way to the Kenwood Fire Department where I remained for the next 12 hours. My purpose in writing today is to publicly thank a young man named Eric Storey, who brought carloads and carloads of food (pizza, sandwiches, chips, fruit), water, Gatorade for us evacuees at the fire station and for the firefighters and the police from other jurisdictions who stopped in for a rest and a bite to eat. All of these items purchased by him because he wanted to help. Thank you, Eric, for your generous and thoughtful actions that day. I am sure all of the people who were there that day send their thanks as well. I will never forget you.
Thanks for use of DepotMany thanks to the Kenwood Community Club for letting Sugarloaf Ridge State Park supporters gather at your very special Kenwood Depot.
It was such a perfect environment for the Sugarloaf volunteers to have a potluck and get together for hugs, to reconnect, to see slides and a video of what our park looks like now, and then to talk about the recovery going forward.
Richard Dale spoke about the [Sonoma Ecology Center’s] involvement in our community, right now using volunteer manpower to protect the creeks from toxins, hefting sandbags and placing wattles. His knowledge helped us to understand and accept some of the positive effects of fire on the mountain and certainly, his information about how nature adapts and appreciates a “cleansing” put a constructive face on what our park is looking at right now.
John Roney, park manager, shared fascinating videos of the fire approaching (taken until the secured camera melted), showed us some of the trails in the aftermath of the firestorm and then talked about what would be involved in repairing and restabilizing some of the trails.
Most of all, our volunteer team is grateful for a chance to get together and regroup. We see contours in the hills and imagine wildflowers in the spring.
Thank you, Kenwood!
Park steward, Sugarloaf