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Facing the fire

A PPBHS student's first hand encounter with wildfires

November 30, 2018

In recent weeks a catastrophic wildfire has consumed about 250,000 acres. What, or who is responsible for the horrific fire that destroyed thousands of homes and took 87 lives? Much of the blame has fallen on two companies, Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) and Southern California Edison (SCE). No company was officially charged with starting the fire, though investigators say SCE was “partly to blame.”

The Camp fire had devastating effects. It destroyed 14,000 homes, close to 90 people and left another 560 missing. But through the ashes, stories of generous strangers donating essentials such as food, money and shelter, arise.

I lived in California a long time ago and I can recall when the fires would get so close that when my class and I walked out of school, we thought it was snowing. Then we breathed in and felt the ash attack our throats and lungs. Over the next week, we would watch the news of the fires. At times they were so close we could easily see the flames from our second-floor windows. My father was one of the firefighters battling the wildfire. It’s scary to think about your dad fighting the fire, hoping he’s okay. Thankfully he was, but many others were not as lucky.

There was no place for people to stay, all the homes were burned down

— Jon Gilson, California resident

I recently had an interview with Jon Gilson, a Californian native. Jon has been buying trailers for those who lost their homes and so far, he’s donated trailers to three families. When I first started talking to Jon, I could tell that he was a kind man, as he spoke with an amiable voice that made you feel like a close friend. Jon went on to tell me about how he picked these families and why he was donating and helping those in need.

“There was no place for people to stay, all of the homes were burned down,” he said. Jon proceeded to tell me how he chose the families. “Well, I didn’t actually choose, my partner did, he was praying and said ‘dear lord, help me find someone who needs help,’ then the phone rang, and it was his old buddy, one he hadn’t talked to in ages. And he said ‘ there is a family, their home was burned down, is there any way you can help them?’ and that was how we got our first family.”

Even though we are diverse, with many different personal, political, and religious beliefs, we are all human. It shouldn’t take a horrific event to inspire us to help one another, but now it is especially important to come together and help those who lost everything in the fires.  

If you would like to donate to the Camp fire relief fund, click here!

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