VALLEJO, Calif. - As the sheer number of California wildfires, so far this year, dwarfs last year's record year, are we becoming traumatized by all the destruction and disaster? Millions of Californians are worried about wildfires.
Even in relatively light winds, 10 homes in Vallejo's Silver Heights were damaged Tuesday evening. This has only added to existing anxieties build up over a half decade of California wildfires.
"Seeing how fire has changed over the last several years and gotten into the communities more and into tract homes more, everybody's in a heightened sense of alert and everybody's a little more scared and threatened," said Vallejo Fire Battalion Chief Cliff Campbell.
"Yes. Everybody is anxious and especially when they saw this happen and we're all concerned," said Silver Heights resident Jeanette Harris. Battalion Chief Campbell says some folks are thoroughly fearful. "Every time they hear a fire engine go by they're worried about not only is it their house, but where are they going or what's on fire or what's going on," said the Chief.
More than a block away, the winds were strong enough to cast embers and start a fire on dry grasses behind Marjorie Alexander's home. "It surprised me when I saw the fire in the back and it really scared me. I was afraid it would come up this way to my house. Thank God it didn't," Mrs. Alexander.
If all this weren't enough, another grave threat hangs over this and almost every other bone dry California community. "We had multiple fireworks and the police department was trying to help us react just last night after this incident occurred and it's just gonna get busier as it gets closer to the 4th of July," said Chief Campbell. "We hear fireworks going off every night and we always think, what if something in back of us catches fire from the fireworks. We think about that a lot," said Alexander.
Patricia Watson, psychologist at the National Center for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, studied California firestorm community and survivor post-traumatic stress.
She says many Californians stress over wildfires now. "It is human nature for the mind to go to worst case scenario in order so they can prepare themselves for worst case scenario. So, I think it is very common. It is something I would be something that I'd expect in that area." said Ms. Watson.
So, don't feel like the Lone Ranger. Use some time for prepare your property not to burn, but also have a go bag.