The fire started on Wednesday, but the severity of it didn’t hit me until Friday afternoon when the sun turned red and the sky began raining ash.
The Butte fire is ravaging Calaveras county; we’ve been on advisory evacuation orders this whole weekend as the flames galloped towards us. Thanks to the nearly 5,000 firefighters, police officers, and other responders (and we are so unbelievably grateful to these brave people who risk their lives to save ours) the march of the fire is slowing. But it’s still moving, and we are in its path.
Today I had to paint about this fire. I can’t see the fire from where I live, but I’ve seen so many photos, so many videos, and my nightmares are inscribed across my mind. I needed to unpack my fears of losing my own home if the firefighters can’t hold the line. I needed to process my sadness for my friends who have lost their homes. And I wanted to try to capture the energy and savagery of this beast that is consuming California.
And I want to be of some use. I can’t help directly. I can’t go bulldoze firebreaks and cut brush, but I can bring this to your attention, dear readers. If you are able, please donate to the Red Cross to help the fire victims across the West. We are burning, burning. So many have lost their homes, their possessions, their businesses and livelihoods. Help if you can.