NOTE: This will be a “top post” for a day or two, to be sure that most regular readers see it. New posts will appear below it, scroll down.
I have received a number of inquiries from around the world related to my welfare due to the #CampFire that destroyed the town of Paradise, CA on November 8th, and threatened Chico, CA where I live, on the same day.
I can tell you, I’m a bit beaten up, but I’m OK. More on that in a moment.
This is what the sky looked like at my home and office about an hour and a half after the fire began. It was surreal, and looked like a scene from Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds” Photo by an employee, Rick Anderson. Those are smoke clouds, and the black dots are birds fleeing the fire. The fire was over 15 miles away at that point. Click to enlarge.
This is what it looked like from space at 10:45AM November 8th, about an hour after the photo above was taken, we were on the north edge of the plume, and it had shifted south in that time.
I know some were concerned because I haven’t been posting much in the way of updates on WUWT. The reason for that is simple, I was busy in my job as a member of the media. I spent Thursday doing special reports for local radio station KPAY about weather and wind conditions, and I spent the night on the front-line of the fire as it threatened Chico, sending in reports, photos, and forecasts based on what I observed.
The death toll continues to climb, at least 23 confirmed so far with 110, possibly more, missing. Some people were burned alive in their cars while trying to escape. I’ve seen video that doesn’t make it on the news, and I wish I could unsee it.
Since that horrible day on November 8th, I’ve continued that process of reporting on radio, and also spent a lot of time on local Facebook groups as well as my own FB page, providing information to people in a different way, un-sensationalized like TV news does. Mainly, I’ve sought to calm people with accurate information. As a result, I got the highest complement I have ever received on Facebook: (I’ve never met this lady, we are only acquainted on FB)
I’ve continued doing that sort of dual role reporting on Facebook and radio since the beginning, while also dealing with personal issues related to the fire, just like so many others have. Every police officer in the town of Paradise lost their home, many state police officers and some Sheriff officers lost their homes. Yet, they are still on the job, protecting the public. There’s no words to describe that sort of dedication.
I have never seen such strength and courage and compassion in the face of total devastation. It is surreal, much like this photo of the flag amid the wreckage taken by Action News reporter Spencer Joseph.
Many friends of mine lost their homes, including one who purchased a home in Paradise I used to live in. Many of my friends have lost people. I can’t begin to understand their level of loss and grief.
Two of my employees and their family members ran for their lives to escape the fire, and ran the gauntlet of flames, smoke, exploding transformers, and downed power lines. It is a miracle they survived. In a surreal twist, a daughter of one of them had taken video of their escape, and it was leading TV newscasts all over the world.
There are lots of cars used in the escape that looked like this after the fire:
Two for certain, and possibly three of my employees have lost their home in Paradise. A fourth employee who live in Forest Ranch, CA has been evacuated from his home, and it remains under threat.. On Friday, there was so much smoke that people were using flashlights. Streetlights and car headlights were on, and the local EPA air quality monitoring station peaked at 995 for particulates (it doesn’t go any higher) and stayed there a good portion of Friday, November 9th.
These people are part of my extended family, some have worked with me more than 20 years. It’s like a gut kick, but at the same time I’m incredibly grateful that we are all whole and unharmed. But they have nothing but the clothes on their backs, a vehicle each, and some personal belongings they packed in a “go bag”.
Now, I’m faced with the task of keeping my weather business whole while my employees deal with their losses and grief. I’ve told them that they can lean on me, that their jobs are secure, and we’ll get through it together.
But, that requires I step away from WUWT for awhile, there’s no other way.
To that end, I made contact with Charles the Moderator (Charles Rotter) who was instrumental in Climategate, and he’s agreed to take over as editor for as long as I need. I’m in his debt.
For those of you that want to help, there’s always the tip jar. But you can also help by contributing guest posts, tips (see the top menu-bar for links) and most importantly (and this costs nothing but a few seconds of time) please SHARE WUWT ON SOCIAL MEDIA. This gets us exposure, and it’s something we need. Many of you know what Google, Twitter and other media platforms have been doing, and this is a way to fight back.
[I’ll post an update for a charitable organization to help victims of the fire that I trust in the coming days, right now I have to find out details.]
[~ctm long time contributor Kip Hansen has set up a fund. This is for money that Anthony can direct to appropriate people or agencies. You can find it here.]
The fire threat is diminishing, and you can see below, the fire has stopped growing significantly:
It is time for me to take a break. I have a meeting with all my people coming up, and I need some rest so that I can be strong for them.
My thanks to all of you, as I sign off for awhile.
Over to you, Charles, with gratitude. – Anthony