Fires

Halloween a bittersweet experience for recovering Santa Rosa wildfire victims

See Santa Rosa before and after the fire

The Tubbs Fire raging in Northern California has leveled one Santa Rosa neighborhood and left many other areas devastated.
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The Tubbs Fire raging in Northern California has leveled one Santa Rosa neighborhood and left many other areas devastated.

In the aftermath of the 36,000-acre Tubbs Fire that devastated Sonoma County, Santa Rosa residents are still very much in the recovery stage.

Even in the midst of some good news Tuesday, as Cal Fire reported the Tubbs Fire was 100 percent contained more than three weeks after it was first sparked, Halloween was sure to be a difficult day for those who suffered losses.

As structures burned, thousands of residents lost their homes and others lost the entire neighborhoods in which they’d normally be trick-or-treating.

In efforts to recover and distract, some organizations planned events for Tuesday to help bring a sense of normalcy back to the area. The Boys & Girls Club of Central Sonoma County arranged a Halloween carnival and the chamber of commerce hosted “A Hero’s Halloween,” a free event for families, KGO reported Monday.

Some schools, such as Brook Hill Elementary in Santa Rosa, reopened as recently as last Friday, according to KPIX, and others are still closed.

As tragedies often do, the wildfire’s devastation also brought about stories of caring and generosity. More than 100 residents in the nearby communities of Saddlebrook in Larkfield-Wikiup and Austin Creek in Rincon Valley reached out to invite displaced families to trick-or-treat in their neighborhoods, according to The Press Democrat.

“It just broke my heart,” organizer Tina Tyko told The Press Democrat. “I thought, ‘This isn’t right.’”

Sacramento students put together a donation drive that collected and sent 300 pounds of costumes and candy to children who lived through the deadly fires, FOX40 reported Monday.

In appreciation of those who worked to contain the state’s blazes, many kids in Santa Rosa dressed up as firefighters for Halloween, KPIX reported. One kindergartner, Anthony Lorenzona Jesus, put it in simple terms: “They’re awesome.”

At nearly $2.8 billion in damages, the Tubbs Fire is now tied for the costliest blaze in state history. Nearly 12,000 homes were destroyed or damaged in Sonoma County alone.

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