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Stories From the Fire: An Anthology of the Very Best Writing About the the California Wildfires So Far

From near and far.

The extent of the smoke on Monday, October 9. 

 

The continuing fires in the North Bay have led to an outpouring of journalism. Here are just some of the many stories we've been reading over the last week—obituaries of the victims, explanations of the events, and on-the-ground coverage of courageous rescues and helpless losses. 

Did we miss something? Email us.

 

The Everyday Heroes

Firefighter Killed in Water Truck Rollover Crash in Napa County (San Francisco Chronicle)
A hero makes the ultimate sacrifice.

Oakland Deputies Use Ghost Ship Experience to Help in Wine Country Fires (The Mercury News)
How the lessons drawn from the fire in Oakland helped the North Bay fires from getting worse.

How a Family Who Lost Everything in the North Bay Fires Is Focused on Helping Others (Popsugar)
One of so many Bay Area residents who have risen to the occasion.

North Bay Tragedy Prompts Memories, Insights from 1991 Firestorm Survivors (Berkeleyside)
Looking back on the last large-scale wildfire in the Bay Area, with sobering lessons for today.

Searching for My Stepbrother in the Wildfires (Daily Beast)
The editor of Berkeleyside shares her story.

 

The Heartbreaking Tragedies

Carmen Berriz died in her husband’s arms trying to elude the Tubbs Fire (San Francisco Chronicle) 
Powerful writing and reporting anchors one of the most tragic stories of the Wine Country fires.

Woman in Wheelchair who Died in Fire Dedicated Life to Helping Others (KRON 4)
Remembering a woman who put others first.

Child Writes Heartbreaking Letter to Oakland A's After House Burns Down in Santa Rosa (ABC 7)
A nine-year boy old writes to the team about losing his baseball cards.

Couple Killed in North Bay Firestorm Wed 75 Years (KRON 4)
Many of the fire victims were elderly people, in this case a 100-year old man and a 98-year old woman. 

North Bay Wildfires Reduce 'Helpless' Mexican Immigrant's Years-Long Dreams to Embers (NBC Bay Area)
Gone in an instant.

Survivors' Guilt (Mercury News)
Those who were spared wonder, "why us?"



The Impact on the Wine Industry

How Climate Change and 'Smoke Taint' Could Kill Napa Wine (Wired)
The fascinating science behind the problem.

At Napa Vineyards Untouched by Wildfires, the Grapes Must Still Be Picked (LA Times)
For many, life goes on.

Vineyards May Have Kept Wine Country Fire From Getting Worse (LA Times)
A small piece of relatively good news.

As Fires Move On, Wine Country Wonders Whether Immigrants Will, Too (New York Times)
The reverberations, like this one, will be felt for years to come. 

 

The Moment-by-Moment Reporting

In California Wine Country, Wildfires Take a Toll on Vintages and Tourism (New York Times)
A broad look at the impact of the fires.

A Fire’s First Fatal Hours (San Francisco Chronicle)
Essential reporting on the blazes.

The Tubbs Fire: How its Deadly March from Calistoga to Santa Rosa Unfolded (The Press Democrat)
A
 reminder of why local journalism matters.

Latino Workers Flee California Wine Country Fires for Shelters, Beaches (Reuters)
A portrait of the crisis for many in the migrant communities.

How California’s North Bay Fires Became the State’s Deadliest (Water Deeply)
How the drought may have exacerbated the damage.

Wildfires Raise Fear of a Mass Exodus by Residents Unable to Afford Housing (Sacramento Bee)
Bad news gets worse.

 

The Overwhelming Photos and Videos

Heartbreaking Photos Reveal 7 Days of Devastation from Wine Country Fire (The Mercury News)
Shocking pictures. 

Before and After Photos: Wildfires Rip through Sonoma County (The Press Democrat)
The extent of the damage revealed.

Drone Footage Reveals Utter Devastation to Santa Rosa Neighborhood After Fires (San Francisco Chronicle)
From the air, another view.

 

The Stranger Than Fiction Stories

Petaluma Pubs Unexpected but Effective Donation Distributors During North Bay Fires (Sonoma Magazine)
Good news and good cheer.

North Bay Cannabis Farms Devastated by Fires (Emerald Report)
Save the jokes about the smoke—we've heard them all.

Santa Rosa Student Carries Pitbull On Bike To Escape North Bay Fires (Patch)
Whatever works.

 

  

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