Carr Fire Letter to the Editor: ‘There was tension. There were tears. There was hope.’

As I sit here in my air-conditioned home with power, I am overwhelmed by both the loss and the incredible work done by so many. I had 24 hours of packing up in case. Others have been out of their homes and in limbo for over a week. Many have nothing to go home to.

I can’t say enough about the local stations and aNewsCafe that have been on 24 hours a day, trying to get information to people. Their reporters have been in precarious positions day and night. The national media have done their best to report both the horror and the progress to friends and families around the US.

I am in awe listening to the Cal Fire Briefings. How can they possibly organize teams and resources over a fire area the size of 7 Manhattans? But they do!

Karen Hafenstein and one of her favorite firefighters, Tanner Ehorn.

Every effort has been made to keep people safe and to inform people with community meetings. There was tension. There were tears. There was hope.

I see posts complaining about most everything, and that is OK and understandable, but I also see every agency and every neighbor basically doing everything they can to curb this nightmare.

Our community is stepping up, but in cases like this, our whole country is our community. We are not perfect, but I have no doubt that the job will get done.

So a huge “thank you” to every agency that has stretched themselves to the breaking point to get this fire stopped, to keep survivors safe, to inform the public, to restore services, and to get people help. The work has just begun!

Karen Hafenstein lives in Redding. She is “sort of” retired. She teaches music at French Gulch Elementary School, and in her spare time she’s a substitute teacher, director of  the Redding Community Choir, and hangs around schools because she just can’t resist.

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7 Responses

  1. Joanne Snyder Joanne Snyder says:

    Great article Karen. I do hope the county and state do step up for what will be a long recovery. Hundreds of families will need to be helped through this process. Who knew that you need a county permit to start cleaning up your home site? Carting off tons of metal and a burned car or two is a lot of work and expensive. I like you, hope there is help available every step of the way in the recovery process. I hope there will be resources available to survivors in a month or two when they realize the clothes they have won’t be adequate when it starts getting cold around here. Again, great article Karen.

    • Dear Joanne. We are all learning so much … and much of it we never wanted to know. I’m so sorry for what you’re going through.

      And no, I didn’t know a permit was required to start cleaning a burned site. I would hope that the city and county would bend over backward to help those who’ve lost their homes to the fire.

      Keep us posted, Joanne. You have many people here who care about you and what you’re going through.

    • Avatar Karen Hafenstein says:

      Thanks Joanne, I know there will be much red tape, but hope there are concessions to speed things up! Let me know if you need winter clothes!

  2. Avatar Karen Hafenstein says:

    Thanks Joanne, I know there will be much red tape, but hope there are concessions to speed things up! Let me know if you need winter clothes!

  3. Avatar Karen Hafenstein says:

    The picture is of my grandson, Tanner, who was on the Carr fire line. It was a new kind of worry-terror that I know every relative of every person working on a fire experiences every minute they are out there.

    • Avatar Marcie Vega says:

      Hi Karen! Being so closely removed from the Carr Fire, I too was glued to my computer for days worrying about my old neighborhood, my friends and the firefighters doing every thing they could to corral this monster fire. And, crying after finding out some of my very close friends lost everything. My heart aches for my old home town.

      • Avatar Karen Hafenstein says:

        Hi Marcie, It is, indeed, a crying time. Everywhere I go people are sharing their stories of losing homes. So many friends and family lost everything. I miss you already!