"A city of fools,

I want to bash whoever is responsible for this incomprehensible lack of passion." (Atmosphere Lyrics) No, I am not really going to bash anyone. But my anger for the lack of EFFECTIVE help for fire victims is real. Went to bed hopeful about things and woke up to this.

"For five weeks after the Butte Fire, Richard and Camille have spent the night in their truck, their worldly possessions heaped in the bed in back. Two large dogs are crammed in the backseat with more possessions.

Richard and Camille's home was leveled in the blaze. Sleeping on the remote property only brought sadness and anger. Instead, they scoured the roadsides for a safe place to pull over and sleep. Sometimes it was behind a tree. Sometimes it was at the Mountain Ranch Community Park. As long as they were safe from looters and lookie-loos they could sleep. Sort of.

Night after night they pulled up alongside desolate roadsides, each claiming one of the benches in the extra cab truck. They piled their few clothes on top of each other for warmth. The dogs settled down and added a little more warmth and comfort.

Days were spent heading out to their property to begin the slow process of cleaning it up. They decided they would at least start since the county cleanup crews were few and far between. (Editor's note: As of 11-04-15 Calaveras County has cleared 27 properties out of 545 homes listed destroyed) Richard and Camille worked their donated sifters and rusty shovels, searching for scarred evidence of their lives that once were. They would stop around noon, covered in greasy soot and head back to town for a hot lunch and an occasional shower. They said they knew those trips cost them gas but they felt it was well worth it to receive a free hot meal and connect with people in the outside world.

Today, the shower trailers have pulled out of the park, lunches are only served three times a week and dinner one night a week. The food pantry is available at the park every Thursday. But life continues to get harder, they said. The weather is changing. Nights are near freezing and will only get worse. The make-shift donation center had to close due to approaching weather. Supplies like winter clothing, blankets, tents, tarps and tools are hard to find. FEMA help is promised but hasn't surfaced even two months after the disaster. They depend on the kindness of strangers for a hand-out of dog food here and there for their pets. Money is tight. What little they have they spend it on gas, tools and fresh fruit and veggies.

Two weeks ago, after sleeping on the benches in their truck, Richard and Camille were finally able to obtain a tent. They set their new digs up in the park.

It was the first time they got to sleep next to each other since the conflagration. They still piled their clothing on top of them. The dogs still hunkered down nearby. But Richard and Camille finally got to hold each other close." (Source: FB Butte Fire Reality)

Then a message from a friend/fire victim saying this... "Fighting county of burned out trees on my place that they are not going to clear and leaving a massive mess on my beautiful burned land. Not going well for any of us out there at all. They are leaving it on us to seed..straw..remove all the trees and such. I just did that two months before fire. My property was pristine..now no $$ to clear out fire mess,etc. My hubby disabled and he is saying we should just bail out..ouch! You asked darlin'." Last night I had asked how it was going. I kind of wish I hadn't. It is only 6:30 in the morning and I can't go back up there until Tuesday.


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