Stories from the Fires by Linda Claire Puig

I received this post as an email from Linda Clair Puig about the Fires in Sonoma County a week or so ago and found it so heart wrenching and inspiring at the same time, I wanted to share it with you all.....

My body may have been in Italy, but my heart and soul were in Sonoma County, my home for nearly 20 years, and it was on fire.

The flames that engulfed the area last month are now the worst fire disaster in California history, and I felt like I needed to be there. So I left Italy early, put off Spain for another time and came home.

Being here has been both inspiring and heartbreaking, and I wanted to share with you a few stories and insights from the fires and the aftermath.

I know it's not my usual article content. It's about "heart stuff" and doorways and people coming together. And it feels important to write about. I hope it touches something for you this weekend.


The destruction here was so massive that the numbers are hard to comprehend: 5,300 homes in Sonoma County alone are GONE. Every person who lives here knows someone whose house burned down. Some people know literally DOZENS.

That number doesn't even include the beloved restaurants, schools, offices, theater spaces, day care centers, wineries, historical buildings and more. In total, the fires in Sonoma County destroyed 7,010 structures. More than 100,000 people were evacuated at one time or another. In some schools, 10% of the student body -- and teacher body -- lost their homes.

Fanned by 80 mph winds, the fire struck in the middle of the night, which made for many harrowing, near-miss escapes.

One woman I talked to at the Humane Society had to flee for her life, like many others did, and in doing so, she left 4 cats behind. Her house -- and all the fine woodworking furniture her late husband had made -- went up in flames.