Evacuees find refuge from Valley Fire in Calistoga

CALISTOGA, Calif. (KTVU) -- The Napa County Fairgrounds in Calistoga became a mini-city of at least a thousand people who fled the hellish firestorm in nearby Lake County to a makeshift shelter.

That shelter that is often their own cars. Now, it's just a waiting game for a 50,000 acre fire out of control with zero containment.

Many are awaiting word if the have a home to comeback to.

"The whole street has been wiped out.  I haven't seen for sure but that's just what I heard. The resort area above us was burned, the pool area below us was burned so this is all the things I've heard, so we've believe that our house is gone,: said Lindsay Roach, an evacuee who came from Cobb.

Others already know all was lost.

"I've been raised there 12, 15 years.  My dad worked hard for us to have that house and it's sad that all those memories are gone," said evacuee Roberto Vazquez.

Calistoga residents welcomed their Lake County neighbors with open arms, including the Athletic Boosters who opened their concession stand kitchen at 5:30 Sunday morning, to prepare as much free food as needed.

"We sent out messages on Facebook and we've just had and overwhelming response of teachers and parents and students and athletes feeding their neighbors, providing donations.  Everything's been donated so far," said Elly Galindo, a concession stand staff volunteer.

Many came here with donations of anything someone could use.

"Because it's the right thing to do.  I had plans today, but God changed that and it's the power of God that should bring us all together," said Rick Romero. Together, Romero's children brought their own toys so that other kids would have something to do while they wait.

"It's definitely a healer; bringing stuffed animals, a book to read and the spirits of young kids to make friends while we're out here," said Mr. Romero, who also brought his family's large camping tent.

"It's a three bedroom tent, but it;s a home right now, I'm not camping so I believe there's a lot more use out here for a family that needs it to feel a little bit more comfortable as a home to give them shelter and privacy," said Romero.

People are beyond worry, becoming weary and worn out by the danger drought brings.

"This is like the fourth fire in Lake County consuming, you know, hundreds of thousands of acres at this point in time and I just ...I don't know. I'm just totally blown away that a group of people would have to go through this," said Assemblyman Bill Dodd, who represents several North Bay counties including Lake and Napa counties.

The painful reality of all of this  is devastating in that that the next six weeks, a month and a half, are the traditionally the hottest, driest weeks of the year.

Up Next:


  • Popular

  • Recent

Stories You May Be Interested In - Includes Advertiser Stories