Nathaniel “Bob” Winters continues his impression of the October firestorm in the Napa Valley and Santa Rosa. ~A.M.


Charcoal           By Nathaniel R. Winters  

10/25/17      My wife Colleen and I came back home from my Parkinson’s disease doctor appointment at the S.F. VA Hospital by going north to Santa Rosa, trying to avoid the worst of rush hour traffic. From Santa Rosa we drove over the ridge to the Napa Valley. Our GPS assured us the road was open after the fire. What we did not know there was a 6pm curfew to keep looters away and to save any local victims from dangers after dark. We arrived at 6:15 and begged the National Guardsmen to save us an extra two hour trip. They relented and we scooted over the pass, driving through neighborhoods of total destruction. What we saw was something out of a war zone, just charcoal and fireplaces. We had seen pictures in the paper and video on TV, but encountering these gates of hell in person was overwhelming. So many left homeless, and so much lost.


We were the only car on the curvy mountain-pass road borerding the hit and miss decimation. One ridge was burned while the trees of another stood with leaves or needles of green; a house here, charcoal there.


As we swichbacked down to the little damaged upper Napa Valley, I gave another silent thank you to the firefighters.


 SFGate: Carlos Avila Gonzalez (The Chronicle)


Nathaniel Robert  Winters


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One response to “Charcoal

  1. Indeed, the whole experience of the fires now seems surreal — until I drive over the mountain along Mark West Springs Road and see again the seared landscape and lone chimneys.