Greenbelt Alliance’s North Bay Regional Director Teri Shore is thankfully safe after the North Bay fires approached and ultimately stopped outside of her home. Our Santa Rosa office also survived, however many of our board members, friends, and family lost people and places they love.
We want to share a part of Teri’s story with you as well as show our gratitude for the support and resilience of our community. As the North Bay emerges from this disaster, we must come together to support our neighbors.
“I returned home to Sonoma Valley three days after intense smoke,” Teri recalls. “The encroaching fires just two miles away triggered an advisory evacuation in Boyes Hot Springs where I live. Several of my friends and Greenbelt Alliance board members had to flee their Sonoma County homes in the middle of the night as fires raged around them.”
“Some lost their homes, as so many others have. And we have all been left shaken.”
Our hearts go out to everyone across the North Bay whose lives will be forever altered by the firestorm—the families, firefighters, police, shelter workers, volunteers, and reporters who shared vital information for evacuees. While the fires are not over yet, Greenbelt Alliance is ready to help as the North Bay’s people and landscapes begin to recover.
As we start to overcome the impacts of the devastating fires, Sonoma County and other North Bay counties face many important decisions about rebuilding and growth. Already, Greenbelt Alliance is being asked to play a role in planning for recovery and future resiliency.
This disaster may have been far worse if not for the policies and plans that have been in place to avoid sprawl in the rural areas of the North Bay.
We believe we can reduce the impact that natural disasters have—avoiding even more devastating results—by fighting for smart planning moving forward. We must take into account the changing climate as decisions are made about where and how to rebuild and grow.
Greenbelt Alliance is working with our partners and the community to shape the important land-use decisions ahead so that Sonoma County can lead the way to a safer, healthier, and resilient future for us all.
Ways you can help victims of the North Bay fires:
- Sign up to volunteer through the Red Cross here.
- For additional volunteer opportunities, contact the Sonoma County Emergency Operations Center Shelter division at 707-573-3399.
Photos: California National Guard via Flickr