Luckily, we had time to get packed, but did not have to evacuate in the end. Our neighborhood is just south of Benton Airpark, and we watched the fire from airpark along with many other people. Some came from the east side to see, too. We were all simply stunned, but united together in our sadness, shock and love for our neighbors, who it seemed were losing their homes right in front of us.
It was the most helpless feeling as we watched it come over the ridge, burning toward us and into the areas where many of our friends lived. It feels surreal, and I know I’ve suffered with much stress, so I can’t even begin to imagine what everyone else is feeling who lost even the smallest important things, like Christmas ornaments made by their children.
This fire will shape who we are as a community, for sure. I am a third-generation Reddingite and know the people who come from here, who were raised here and who continue to fight to keep this town safe and beautiful, despite our current problems. I’ve traveled to other countries and around the states and the people here are some of the best people on Earth. We’ll be stronger and better after this, but the scars will remain for a long time.
My children’s children will hear about the Carr Fire from our family, the community and from my husband and me. I’ll be sure to teach them about how to stay safe, and about the brave and heroic people who came together here in 2018 to help one another!
It’s so very sad. I hope we’ll all be able to see blue skies once again soon. A little sunshine would help us all.
River Trail east of the Ribbon Bridge below Sunset Terrace subdivision.
Paula Soito is a first-grade teacher Mistletoe Elementary School in Redding. She’s also an arts industry writer and columnist for Art Market Magazine. She is the CEO and founder of Artsrow.com, a website dedicated to highlighting the works of American artists to audiences around the world.