What a scene Wednesday morning in a Santa Rosa neighborhood that’s close-up to destruction but stands intact because of a team of state prison inmates.
A team of orange-clad firefighters from the Washington Ridge Conservation Camp returned to the enclave north of the former Sutter Santa Rosa Regional Hospital site and below Fountaingrove to meet some of people whose homes they saved a week ago Monday.
Inmate-firefighters from the camp just east of Nevada City stood shoulder-and-shoulder as neighbors stepped from one to the next, thanking them profusely and shaking their hands and/or hugging them.
“It reminded me of what happens after a soccer game,” said resident Janet Condron.
Condron, a former Santa Rosa mayor and the wife of retired SSU vice president Dan Condron, feels certain her home and those of many neighbors would be ashes were it not for the actions of the conservation-camp firefighters.
Some of them told Condron and her neighbors they were happy to help and appreciated the rare opportunity to return to a fire scene and meet people who live there.
Said Condron, “It was therapeutic for both.”
Shelters for Pawnee fire evacuees
Lower Lake High School, 9430 Lake St., Lower Lake, is the official shelter established for people evacuating from the Pawnee fire. It is equipped to handle animals.
The Clearlake Oaks Moose Lodge, 15900 E. Highway 20, Clearlake Oaks, is not authorized by the Office of Emergency Services but is also sheltering fire evacuees, mostly people in campers and RVs who want their animals with them.
There is an authorized Lake County animal services station in an open field at Highway 53 and Anderson Ridge Road in Lower Lake.