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Saturday, October 27, 2007

California WildFires

Life after fire, Govets Leap, Blue Mountains originally uploaded by kurtmate_ezs.

It's humbling to witness the fury of the California wildfires from the comfort of the wet and somewhat-seasonably cool East Coast.

I can't even fathom the scope of this disaster, or how people are coping with the upheaval. The idea of having at most 7 minutes to exit your home with no assurance of finding anything upon return staggers my brain.

Although network news have been covering the story heavily, I have a more immediate understanding of this chaos through social media, and specifically through blogposts from friends in Southern California.

Masi Guy's Tim Jackson has posted many photos and descriptions of what he has witnessed. I can feel the smoke from his photos.

Becky Carroll from Customers Rock! examines the communications channels that have been most effective in providing information. Really fascinating to witness the power of citizen reporting, and seeing the tools of social media - blogs, Google fire maps, Twitter - being used to gather and disseminate information. Talk about creating life after a fire. Becky was evacuated, but is back home.

Mary Hunt from In Women We Trust, although surrounded by the fires, manages to find good news in all of this.

Stephanie Weaver celebrates in Wildfires in San Diego all of the wonderful and amazing actions she has witnessed. And, yes, thank you to the firefighters!

Maria Palma from Customers Are Always reports that she is okay as she lives to the south of San Diego.

I spoke briefly on Friday with Tom Menzel, our Wear-Dated Regional Manager for the Western Region of the country [where California features prominently]. Although he lives in Sacramento, he has lived several times in the areas affected by the fires. He and Cindy Wilson [whom you may remember for Passion In Baseball, Business and Flooring] are working hard to determine which flooring stores have been affected. Cindy, just back from vacation in Hawaii, lives 10 miles from Rancho Bernardo and can see flames from her house...

Tom says that a Mohawk representative has lost his home. Our hearts go out to him and his family and all of the others who have been affected.

As we get more information, I will put a list together and publish it here.

Here is contact information for the Red Cross. Tom reports that the Sacramento Red Cross strongly encourages cash donations over stuff so that the cash can be spent locally in the areas affected by the fires and help jump start businesses there.

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