In 2017 our annual event took place in October. This was just a few days after the last of the Sonoma County fires were extinguished.
Although we had a wonderful event last year, because of this tragedy, the overall event was bittersweet. Not only were these horrific fires in our own extended community but many of us knew people who were seriously impacted; some who even lost their homes.
We vouched then, as a company, to help the people of Sonoma County and the region.
The Northern California fires were devastating and the toll they took was massive. The fires began on October 8, 2017 and took three full weeks to be fully contained.
More than 200,000 acres burned in Sonoma, Napa and Solano Counties, over 5,000 homes were destroyed, with an additional 4,000 burned. Santa Rosa alone lost over 3,000 homes to the Tubbs fire. At least a dozen wineries have been fully destroyed and at least another dozen partially destroyed. 44 people lost their lives, including 23 in Sonoma County.
Some of the ways the economy was affected:
- Even though large areas of the region were left untouched by the fires, the region lost vital business during one of the busiest times of the year as many visitors have canceled after the fires reservations at local hotels, wineries and restaurants.
- Local farmers lost most of their crops last year because they either burned or rotted while waiting to be harvested.
- Many businesses extended themselves to help the first responders and others in greater need during the devastating fires, incurring business losses themselves.
- During and after the fires, electricity was shot off for an extended period creating business losses across the region.
- Businesses suffered loss of employees due to relocation or not able to come to work or had to lay-off staff due to the loss of income.
An event like this is not just a moment in time. The impact to the people and the community is tremendous and the recovery process will take many, many more years.
How well they recover will depend on the ongoing support they receive from locals and visitors like us.