On Tuesday, I went to check out the Valley fire: I traveled to one of the two Red Cross evacuation centers at the Napa County fairground, and to the town of Middletown. Both were remarkable scenes.
Red Cross Evacuation Center at the Napa County Fairground
Having just finished county fair season, and having gone to the Yolo County fair myself in late August, it was a strange and unsettling juxtaposition to see the fairground lined with cars and packed with people, just like on fair day, but instead of happy, smiling families I was met with worn, somber faces. Many looked as though trying to make the best of it--like an unscheduled family camping trip, but it is hard to escape the signs of disaster: piles of donated clothing yet to be sorted, police officers on patrol to "keep the peace", hastily written notices informing residents of a community meeting, and general hodge-podgery. Dogs and cats were everywhere. Port-a-potties lined the edges of the tent and RV camps, with loads of supplies being hauled around through the grounds on trucks.
Insurance companies had booths set up ready to receive claims, as did all the telecoms, offering free wifi, charging stations, and phone banks. Local food trucks were also present, offering free meals. Signs, primarily handwritten, covered the walls near the media and volunteer sign-in, attempting to connect families, friends, and lost or found pets to owners.
BASE OF OPERATIONS