November 7 – I was at my sisters house in Magalia. We were finalizing our Christmas craft project, decorating little trees with tiny beads and our I Love Chico, CA Ornaments. My sister thought it smelled like rain was coming, I shrugged and said we weren’t expecting any. I drove home, excited to finish our project and have it ready for the Downtown Christmas Preview.
November 8 – I woke up and got ready to go to the office like any regular day. For 8am the light was weird so I went outside and saw a large cloud. I thought, hmm that’s weird, maybe my sister was right about the rain. I went back in and gathered my things and left my house in West Chico. As I drove down East Avenue, I could see that this was no weather cloud, it was smoke. I stopped near OSH and called my sister and told her that this looked bad. She told me that there has been an evacuation order and she was on her way out. She had called my nephew and he was getting out of his place in Paradise as well. None of us had any idea of the magnitude as of yet but it was becoming obvious that this was no ordinary fire.
I went on to the office and then to my network meeting and we were still not really realizing the magnitude. By 3:00 p.m. my nephew had made it to my house. He had gone down Skyway on the wrong side of the road, through a hell-scape of fire. My sister was still missing. We had no cell service for her and we knew we would just have to wait to hear from her when she could call. She finally arrived at my house at about 6:00 p.m. She had to go up and out. Having already identified the escape routes in advance, she knew where to go. She made it over to Hwy 32 and back to Chico over a road suited for all wheel drive vehicles, in her small Honda Civic.
We are so thankful that I live in Chico and they had a place to go. My small 800 sq. ft house has gotten full but it is such a preferred full. We are thankful to have gotten out with our people and our animals. Both homes were completely gone.
Kim in Chico