Smokey Skies

I write a post something along these lines annually. That is because out here in dry, dry California we have fire season every year now. This year it started terribly early, back in June. A few weeks ago, for the first time, we had a fire happen very close to our property and it was scary. Fortunately the River Fire was contained in time but my husband did have the car packed and ready to evacuate as we were in the group that would be called next, if the fire spread. That was far too close for comfort.

Smokey skies

Right now the Dixie fire burning in the north eastern part of the state. It is the worst fire in California history and is currently consuming well over 700,000 acres. For perspective, this is more than 1,000 square miles which is basically the size of Rhode Island or 1/2 the size of Delaware. This fire is only 33% contained and has been burning for over one month. Allocated to this fire are 5,696 personnel (divided into 88 crews), 183 water trucks, 205 bull dozers, 463 fire engines, and 19 helicopters. It is a huge process to fight something like this.

The loss is devastating. Greenville, a small town of 1,000 residents, was wiped out. The whole town is gone. Because there is a lot of mountain terrain involved in this fire, the loss of homes isn’t as bad as with some fires. So far, 652 homes and 130 commercial structures have burned. This count will increase after the fire is contained and it becomes safe for the fire fighters to actually assess the true damages.

All in all, this makes me sad. Think of the wildlife that has perished. These mountains are home to deer, bear, squirrels, chipmunks, rabbits, bob cats and more. It will be years before the forests are re-established. We all watch the weather hoping for calm skies. The wind is the biggest factor other than the very dry land causing the fire to continue to spread. Smoke is all over California. This morning there was quite a bit of ash on my car and I am more than one hundred miles from the fire. I cannot even imagine the horrible air quality for the people living closer in.

OK – knowing all of you, those quilting minds are wondering how to help. If you are wanting to send quilt(s) for the victims, I have information for you. There is an organization called We Care which is headed up by Kathy Biggi, a quilter in my local guild (Pine Tree Quilt Guild). Kathy is devoted to providing quilts for those who have lost their homes to fire. There are numerous other fires burning where homes have been lost and Kathy is working with various groups to understand what the need is. If you would like to send a quilt to her, please let me know in the comments or by email, and I will send you her mailing information.

At the moment, she is collecting quilts. They should be lap size at smallest (so about 45 x 55″). If you can, a matching pillowcase in a great idea. All sorts of quilts are needed, juvenile themes, gender neutral, or quilts a man or woman might enjoy.

Kathy won’t distribute right away as it takes some time for a person who has lost their home to get settled again. But your quilt will definitely be given to a family who is rebuilding and it will being comfort.

Thanks for reading all of this. Not exactly a fun, upbeat post but this is what is happening here. I appreciate all of you and if anyone has a way to send some rain our way, it would be hugely appreciated.

On Sunday we will have the final link up for The Positivity QAL. Please come on back and take a look at the gorgeous quilts made for Mercy Hospital!!

16 thoughts on “Smokey Skies

  1. sue s

    I have followed you for awhile, but felt today I needed to write and let you know how great the work is that you do for others. Even with the fire near you, you are thinking of others. Take care of yourself and your family.

    Reply
  2. Wendy Tuma

    I’m glad you are safe; I’ve been wondering how things are going where you are. My Positivity quilt is done, I just need to take photos and then I’m going to put it in the mail to you. Thanks for the info on the need for quilts for those who lost homes in the fires; I’ll look through my quilt stash and see if I have any in the right sizes.

    Reply
    1. Bernie Post author

      We are fine Wendy. If you have any questions about the quilts for We Care, let me know. If you decide to donate to We Care, it might be less costly if you mail both quilts together. I am happy to take your We Care quilt over to Kathy.
      Take care and have a nice weekend. 🙂

      Reply
    1. Bernie Post author

      Hi Pamela: Really I am just trying to spread the word. Kathy Biggi is the person who puts in so many hours trying to help the fire victims. My goal is to try and bathe more quilts for We Care so Kathy can get them to the families. 🙂

      Reply
  3. Mari

    Bernie, that sounds so scary. I can’t imagine. I’m glad your town was spared, but I do feel for those who have lost everything. I wish I could send you all our rain. I’m fairly sure that I have a quilt or two to send for fire victims. I know from my brother how hard the recovery is and how appreciated every little contribution is. Take care, and I hope you guys stay safe.

    Reply
    1. Bernie Post author

      Good morning Mari – it is scary and so frustrating. Each year seems to be worse and I sure don’t see a solution to the issue (global warming). I bet your brother is dealing with some smokey days too. Thanks for your thoughts and potential quilt donation! Have a lovely Saturday. 🙂

      Reply
  4. Kathleen McCormick

    I am so glad you did not have to evacuate and are safe. What a nightmare these fires are and how devastating. Thanks for mentioning this charity….I will keep it in mind. I have a lot of charity quilts in my head, just need to get them down on fabric! See you tomorrow for the linkup….hooray for Mercyful Quilts and Bernie and Preeti!

    Reply
    1. Bernie Post author

      Lots of charity quilts, many needy recipients, yet only a limited amount of time! So you do what you can, right? Thank you for your note Kathleen.

      Reply
  5. Yvonne from Quilting Jetgirl

    I am glad that the fires close to you was able to be put out in time without a need for you to evacuate. It’s definitely scary. My husband and I talk all the time about what natural disaster to try next (clearly, we chose lava and hurricanes for this time). Thanks for sharing about who is collecting quilts to give out.

    Reply
    1. Bernie Post author

      I do think about that – every area has its share of natural disasters – tornadoes, hurricanes etc. Mother Nature is pretty darn powerful!

      Reply
  6. Kathy Hellesen

    Hi, Bernie,

    Anny Schomburg of our guild (Sacramento Modern Quilt Guild) shared your blog post. Would you send me the information where to send quilts fro fire victims? I will share that with our guild of about 100 avid quilt makers and givers. Thanks!

    Reply

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