“We Are the World Blogfest,” posted around the last Friday of each month, seeks to promote positive news. There are many oases of love and light out there, stories that show compassion and the resilience of the human spirit. Sharing these stories increases our awareness of hope in our increasingly dark world.
It has been harder for me to find good news lately among the hurricanes, floods, and now wildfires. This last disaster hit close to home. The worst fires were in wine country–Napa and Sonoma counties, and the city of Santa Rosa–only about 2 hours north of where I live in Silicon Valley. And there were other fires as well, in Anaheim and near Santa Cruz. People lost homes, businesses, their life’s work, and sometimes their lives. Current estimates put the damage at $1 billion, with 42 dead and 8,400 structures burned.
One bright spot in this very sad story has been the saving of Safari West. Seventy-seven-year-old park owner Peter Lang battled the fires around the animal habitats alone, all night, after guests and staff had been evacuated. “I have a thousand souls I’m responsible for,” he said. “It wasn’t even a decision. This is what I had to do.” He watched his own ranch home on a nearby hillside be consumed by flames. But he saved the park, and no animals were lost. Employees and first responders are finding community there as they work to rebuild their lives. The park is expected to re-open on March 1.
Here is a list of ways to help victims of the California wildfires, from a newspaper local to the area: Easy Ways to Help Victims of the Wine Country Fires, by the Staff of the Press Democrat in Santa Rosa.