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Neighbor, Jan Stewart and I agreed to volunteer for the Butte Fire Recovery once a week. The traffic was light and we stopped and took pictures on the way to the recovery center in Mountain Ranch. You can click to enlarge this picture. It shows how unpredictable fires can be. The firefighters were able to save the house, but the entire front fencing is burned and the rise to the right of the house has a burned out camper on it. The white car, obviously recently parked there.

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What do you do?  Where do you go?

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Sometimes it defies reason. Some trees stand while another is a hot spot on the same hillside.

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Greeting us at the  recovery center was a sign and empty space.

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Just two weeks ago this is what the center looked like. I was so busy, I couldn’t take the time for more than one picture.

We spoke to volunteers at the center and they told us to go to Senders Market and post what we had to donate.

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On huge boards, one entitled tell us what you need?

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Heartbreaking to read on the far left: Looking for Mom with autistic brother. And the simple word WORK.

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You can feel the desperation, Need a Job, hard worker, Lost Jobs, living in red Ford P/U. A visual reminder that businesses burned and can no longer employ people. The toll is over 3000 people have lost their homes, over 570 families. Some are so remote they are just being contacted. This is rough, hilly country.

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Bulletin two asks what you have? Jan and I listed what we had to give and then began to return home still in our work clothes. We took more pictures.

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In San Andreas, State Farm set up a settlement wagon for people needing to get their insurance claims in. No one there knew where we could volunteer in town, though we heard they had a need.

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We stopped and talked to a Sheriff’s Deputy in his car. He knew nothing. Since we had time on our side we drove to Mokelumne Hill. The town, we knew, had been saved. But the butte overlooking the town showed how close it was.

From there we decided to drive to Glencoe where my son has a place. He knew he hadn’t burned out. I know so many people out this way and no way to know if they are in trouble. The newspapers don’t want to publish too much information for fear of looters, in part.  But, more tomorrow.




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  1. Edward Kuball

    Mary: Doesn’t their insurance provide motel/hotel rooms until their house is rebuilt? And doesn’t their policy also have coverage for contents? Mine always did. I had replacement cost coverage – new for old. How come State Farm didn’t have these people in hotel/motel rooms with a check for their loss of furnishings?? Hang in there! bud.

    • 2gadabout

      Hi Bud, Two weeks ago there was a line a mile long. I expect they got good service from State Farm, those that were insured with State Farm. All insurance companies have an out, if you are too far from a fire hydrant, your insurance is really high in country like this. Coverage may include a motel or apt. rental but there are over 575 families and the rentals in and around the community do not exist. Nor motel space. And, it may well depend on some kind of government clearance from FEMA. I know people who were uninsured and they are plenty and usually poor. They get a minimum basic FEMA allottment and a lot of involved paperwork to deal with and still need to stay somewhere until they can get back to work, a phone, and internet service, steady supply of food since they have no place to cook, etc. I think disasters of this size have complications over a single fire, or one building. Good questions. I’ll see what I can find out, if I have time. Thanks for stopping by.

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