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Our readers write from Calistoga, California

(Editor's note: The stories below were written by students in Lorraine Ruston's Napa Valley College ESL class, Calistoga site.)


by Ai Komura

On Monday morning when I woke up my host mom told me, "There is no electricity and no water," and then I knew there were a lot of fires around here. My host dad was on his day off but his boss found him. (He is a fire fighter.) We couldn't use anything except for gas so fortunately we were able to cook. My host mom went to get a thing that can make electricity. Then we got Wi-Fi and were able to plug in the fridge on Monday afternoon.

We left on Wednesday afternoon and I stayed at my host dad's mom's place in Napa with my host mom and kid. I couldn't believe that I couldn't even see 50 meters away because of the smoke when I was driving.

My host mom and her parents argued a lot about where we could evacuate to because we have five dogs and one cat; they have three dogs and my host mom's sister's family who lives one mile away from our place has one dog. So it sounded like it would be impossible to stay all together with our pets. My host mom ended up taking our three dogs to a woman who has a big house where around 50 dogs could stay. One dog and the cat stayed with us.

My host mom went to volunteer to make meals for the firefighters during my stay there. I worked from that Sunday to the next Sunday. I was mentally and physically tired. (I am an au pair for a baby.)

My room had a fireplace and the chimney wasn't closed so lots of smoke came into the room and it was smoky. I couldn't sleep there so I stayed in the living room for three nights. It was the first disaster of my life.

My story about arriving back in Calistoga

Javier Queipo

My experience with the fire when I arrived in Calistoga was to see the mountains burned and without green color, as well as listening to the stories of the people. Some were very sad and others were grateful because their houses were not damaged and they thank God it is all over.