Natural disasters can destroy a person’s home and everything they own. Hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, and earthquakes happen all the time in different parts of the world. The impact of these disasters can be devastating.
One natural disaster that residents of California need to worry about often is wildfires. For over 100 years, California has faced several dangerous wildfires. Each year, the damage costs the state around $3 billion, and what the fires destroy in their paths is unbelievable.
Heat and Winds
California is a beautiful place to live due to the warm weather; however, it is this warm weather that sparks wildfires. The combination of warm, dry air and winds, often referred to as Diablo winds are a recipe for disaster. Authorities say that these conditions are the cause of the devastating wildfires that have been plaguing California for decades.
In November 2018, California dealt with one of the most devastating wildfires in history. It was referred to as the Camp Fire because it started on Camp Creek Road in northern California. The fire burned over 200 miles of land, and it burned for 17 days. By the end, it has destroyed over 18,000 buildings. This is a time that every resident of California will remember for the rest of their lives.
Sadly, this wasn’t the most devastating wildfires ever recorded. The biggest in the state’s history was known as the Santiago Canyon fire. The fire affected Orange County, San Diego County, and Riverside County. The fire burned for just six days, and in that time, over 470 miles of land were burned. The fire started due to the long dry spell suffered by California. After this particular fire, an employee of the United States Forest Service documented everything that he saw firsthand. In the report, he wrote that the fire was something he had never witnessed in his life.
When the Camp Fire was burning in 2018, residents of Magalia were told to evacuate. The authorities knew that the residents were in the path of the fire, and they told them that it was time to leave their homes. Many residents began gathering only what they could carry and started heading for safety with friends, family members, and evacuation centers. Unfortunately, not every resident was able to evacuate on their own. Margaret Newsum couldn’t leave her home. It wasn’t because she didn’t want to leave it behind; it was because she physically couldn’t leave on her own.
Margaret was 93-years-old when the fires broke out. She lived in her home alone, with her seven cats. She required care from a home aide due to her advancing age and medical issues. Before the evacuation orders were issued, Margaret’s aide headed home to Paradise when her shift ended, leaving Margaret home by herself.
Margaret was eating a bowl of oatmeal and watching television when she learned about the wildfires. She immediately began to panic. She knew that her health aide’s home was in the path of the fires, so she was probably already at an evacuation center. Since Margaret had no family in the area, she didn’t know what to do. She realized that she was on her own, and she didn’t know what to do. She decided to go outside and wait, hoping that someone would come by to help.
Dane Ray Cummings
Margaret was standing outside her home when her garbage man, Dane Ray Cummings saw her standing there. He knew that something was wrong, so he went to talk to Margaret. He asked her why she was still there. He told her that it was dangerous and people were being evacuated. She told him that she had no way to get out. The only reason Dane was there because he knew that there were plenty of elderly people in the area. His boss told him to get out of the area, but he stayed to offer his help to anyone who was left behind. While driving in the neighborhood, he stopped and asked between 40 and 50 people if they needed his help. Margaret did.
Saving the Day
Dane lifted Margaret into the truck and put her seat belt on. Finally, she was going to get to safety. The trip out of town took longer than Margaret thought due to the traffic from the other residents evacuating as well. During the ride, Margaret told Dane all of the amazing stories of things that had happened during her life. Dane couldn’t believe that this woman had experienced so many amazing things during her life. She says that surviving the Camp Fire was just another thing to add to the list of the amazing things that she experienced, and she had Dane to thank. A 93-year-old lady was under threat from wildfires when a garbageman arrived and took swift action. He was her hero that day.