The Road to 65, Mile 256: Desert Wildfire, Day Two

August 11, 2015, Mohave Valley-  When a crisis overtakes a community, many people come together and work to address the challenges that have arisen.  There are a few outliers and conspiracy theorists who show up, and stage drama.  Then, there are the grifters, who show up and just want, and take.

We had all three types of humans at the  shelter, yesterday.  Several people, who had lost everything, including pets, came, stayed until the evacuation order was lifted, and left at that time.  Others stayed until morning.  Two who felt the world was against them, stayed the night and left at least with the feeling that our corner of it was not so out to get them.  Two others came in, filled their duffel bag with food and toiletries, and left around 10 PM.  (They were technically eligible to stay with us, but chose to go back to their powerless, water-less house, for the night).

Today, I was part of a three-person tam that went out to the neighbourhoods of Mohave Valley and took stock of the damage.  I was the spotter, assessing the current state of the properties.  Another man had computer images of the properties, as they were before the fire.  By comparing the two, we were able to make a realistic assessment of actual damages. These will be useful, when claims are filed.  It may sound like we’re insurance adjusters, but Red Cross uses these assessments to determine how much in emergency aid should be given.  Most people are just grateful that somebody cares and is there for them, at a very bad time in their lives.

It’s hot here, very hot, though the cloud cover from a northern low pressure system mitigated the temperature a bit.  We were glad to let the few who remained this afternoon, stay and rest.  A couple of people were comforted by the staff and made to feel more human than they had in quite a while.  Some ladies helped a badly-shaken young woman, who was disabled, to have a mini-makeover, which probably made her year, not to mention her day.

This is the true depth of what we do- to let people know that, at their core, they are important, and valued.  The fire is mostly out, and the first responders are on hot-spot duty for 48 hours.  Tomorrow noon, we will head back to Prescott, and the local team will continue helping the fire victims, in their recovery process.

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