Reflections in a Fire

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•Looters … go straight to hell.

•Standing with neighbors watching a massive wall of flames from a nearby subdivision.

•Evacuate now or wait for orders…there’s no easy answer. The heart says stay. The mind says get out now.

•The fire official, who lost his home, trying to comfort others who lost their homes…so gracious.

•The young reporter travelling from fire site to fire site growing in her craft as we watched.

•Some businesses giving away face masks…others charging more. Move over looters.

•The ability of people faced with devastation to put one foot in front of the other.

•The instant generosity of those opening their homes to others.

•Sorting photos not seen in 20 years…a nervous way to pass the time waiting the next evacuation.

•Reducing your possessions to the backseat of a car…if you had time. Otherwise grabbing a couple of things on the way out the door…wallet and spare eyeglasses?

•The despair of the destruction and the relief of being safe with those you love.

•The elation if your home is still standing…the guilt if your neighbor’s isn’t.

•Fire so destructive that entire houses are reduced to foot-high piles of ashes.

•Adjusting to wearing a mask for the simplest things.

•Waking to an orange sun then settling into a day of gray overhead and 100 plus heat.

•Desperate for information…

•Appreciative to the local media’s amazing efforts, in spite of their personal losses.

•To the wonderful government official who went into work at a dangerous time so she could post a list of important documents to take with us.

•The gratitude from deep within for those who fight these vicious fires… to call them brave is to understate.

•How do you ever thank those who gave their lives trying to protect us?

•The death of the woman and two small children broke our hearts.

•Awe of the cooperation of all the public agencies helping us through this nightmare.

•The daily instructions to the fire crews, helping us stay involved with the daily objectives.

•Our friends, fighting to save their homes, sometimes cutting it too close.

•Repeating over and over that things can be replaced…but seeing the loss of a lifetime accumulation still hurts like hell.

•The realization that in the worst of circumstances, we are again at our best. For every person who (mostly out of fear) puts others at risk, there are hundreds keeping in control…to better help themselves, friends and strangers.

•The waiting…to get back in our homes.

•The waiting…fire season isn’t even here yet.

•Put aside the decisions to move away, rebuild or replace for another day. For today, offer comfort to the person next to you.

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Doug Mudford
is a lawyer and partner at Barr & Mudford, with an emphasis on serious personal injury. He may be reached at Barr & Mudford, 1824 Court St., Redding, (530) 243-8008, or
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