We’re still in the Holiday Inn Express, Fort Bragg, and we are fine.  Elvon is coping much better than I feared.  It’s pretty much life as usual for him.  I’m the one who’s fretting.  If I go incommunicado and my cell doesn’t work, the hotel land line is 707-964-1100.

Did I tell you Sylly P was checked in as a service animal? Compassion finds a way to bend the rules.  She is doing good service, keeping me sane.  Last night, I had a lot of trouble sleeping, trying to decide whether to stay here or get farther up the coast to Eureka, three hours away.  Sylly P, lay on my chest and purred me into a state of relaxation, and I finally fell asleep.  The locals here have faith in their safe harbor and I sure hope they are right.  It has never been tested like this before.

Cal Fire is still saying the situation will get worse before it gets better.  Marissa Goldman, the Nurse at Fountaingrove Lodge, called me this morning.  She confirmed that we should not try to rejoin our group.  They are holed up in Concord, at Oakmont of Montecito.  That’s well south and east of Santa Rosa, but conditions are not as good as they are here in Fort Bragg.  The sun is shining and the air is clear.  We are 20 miles from the nearest fire, which is directly east of us.  The fire zone is now over 120 miles long from North to South.  We are at the northernmost end of it.  If it starts to go farther north, I’ll want to get out, but it’s easier said than done.

8000 firefighters in the area.  Fires are combining and still growing.  More evacuations being called.  All existing ones are still in place.  No one can go back into any of the evacuated areas.  It’s still too dangerous.  I am listening to local briefings on TV and they are telling people they are on their own if they decide to stay.  The first responders will have no time for them, and they will be a distraction.  Everyone must stay out and one guy said, “If you are planning to visit Calistoga, you are not welcome.”  Strong scary stuff.

Carol Berg, who likes in Silverado Springs, decided to stay in her home.  She is a source of news.  Here’s her report:  “ I have stayed in our home here on Troon Drive. I was told that I would not be allowed back in for 7 days so I’ve decided to stay here. They have just turned back on the electricity here so I do have power but the gas is still turned off, I do not have internet or t.v., my cell phone just started working and so I wanted to let you all know that I am here. I’ve kept an eye out for all of your homes and so sorry to see those that are lost. I first hand saw them when Tim and I drove around after it first happened. I’ve been in touch with Celia and Bob and they are at the Hampton Inn with Freddie. I don’t know where the rest of you all are except for what is on this email. I pray that you all be able to come back soon but it’s not looking really good. The water has been compromised here and must be boiled. Most of the homes still do not have any electricity or gas so you would not have hot water, we are just fortunate that we have electricity now here in the Springs. Let me know if there’s anything I can do for any of you while I’m here I can drive around this area but I can’t leave because they won’t let me back in. So I’m staying put using my microwave and I have plenty of water and food here. Love and prayers to you all that have lost your beautiful homes and so happy for those that did not.

Hugs, Carol B.”

Ruth Berggren, who lives in Silverado Highlands, evacuated to the city, and had this to report: “Here’s a quick status report.

The fires are apocalyptic.  The fire has ravaged the neighborhood of my new home—of the 111 houses in the area, 33 are completely gone.  Burned to the ground.  Nothing left.  It’s devastating.  And almost completely random.  My house in Silverado is still standing, but the wind is changing tonight, and the area is considered threatened again.   So we are all on pins and needles.  I haven’t been able to get to it, but we have video that shows it still there.  Others weren’t so lucky.

My house on 3rd avenue came within feet of the fire.  A policeman told me yesterday that the houses on 3rd are still there.  I haven’t been able to see it, either, because of roadblocks and continuing danger.  It is in escrow, and, believe it or not, the owners have not backed out.  I have a friend who was supposed to close on a house on the 19th.  The house doesn’t exist any more.

The smoke in Napa is worse than Beijing.  No visibility, except at night you can see the red flames of the fires along the ridges.  When I was driving back to SF Tuesday night, we saw the flames along the eastern ridge, and a huge plume of black smoke just south of where my house should have been.

A convoy of a dozen or more ambulances went by, on the way towards Napa.  It was spine-chilling.  We later determined that the ambulances were for evacuating the VA hospital.

I appreciate everyone’s words of support and concern.  I’ll try to keep you updated, but it is hard.  It is emotionally and physically draining.

More when I get the time. Love, Ruth”

Pray for us.  We’ll get through it, but it’s no fun at all, at all.