For Sonoma Valley residents, the worst part about the latest round of California wildfires isn’t the smoke itself – smoke which, due to the fires in Butte County, has caused the longest stretch of days of bad air quality in the Bay Area in recorded history.

But for us, the worst part is seeing all that smoke and ash and knowing what it represents for the people of Butte County. Our hearts go out to them, and to communities around the state that are dealing with fire and its aftermath.

Another terrible aspect of the current fires is the memories they bring up for Sonoma Valley residents, who only a year ago were reeling from record-breaking wildfires. Those records have already been broken: Butte County’s Camp Fire is now the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in California history.

Finally, there is the gnawing fear that those records will be broken again in the near future, and again after that. That we will see this movie replayed, over and over, for years to come. And that California itself will emerge a different place.

No matter what the future holds, we feel certain that residents of our Valley, our region, and our state have a long road ahead, and much to learn as we adapt to a changed and changing world. Hopefully, working together, we’ll emerge from this era with tools for building a future that is bright and secure.

Current forecasts indicate rain on Wednesday, and if it does arrive then – notwithstanding any new hazards it may bring – we’ll be grateful. Those with family nearby, and homes to host them, have reason to be extra thankful this Thanksgiving. We are thankful for you, our friends and neighbors, and hope you’ll join us as we work on solving this most challenging problem of our time.

 

Sorrowful, Determined, Thankful