THOUGHTS ABOUT . . . The Yarnell, Arizona fire

THOUGHTS ABOUT The Yarnell, Arizona Fire

Never forget the fire that killed nineteen firefighters in the mountainous terrain of Yarnell, Arizona at the end of June in 2013.

Never forget the survivors. After I saw an Arizona Republic photo of Jerry Florman consoling a neighbor about the loss of his home, a few days later I saw one of her husband Kurt, deep in thought, as he stood in the gray ashes and rubble that was their home.

Yesterday I e-mailed Jerry, asking about their lives now. I received a reply this morning. She said two figures are circulating — 50 houses burned and 129 houses burned. “I can’t seem to get a handle on it. So many questions to be answered yet. My heart is still wide open. I am waiting to offer comfort to others, yet living in a bit of a fog yet myself. We are all changing as we learn to cope with the trauma, hopefully for the better. That’s my prayer.

“The furniture promised hasn’t arrived yet but there is so much being donated that we have been able to meet our needs.”

Luckily, she and Kurt discovered that a house her mother lived in in Yarnell was vacant and rentable. They are grateful. “It’s good to be back in Mom’s home. Many are camping on their properties, some in tents, some in RVs. Porta Potties are parked on streets. Donations are everywhere. Local volunteers are worn thin, but indispensable in their jobs. Somehow we will muddle through. People coming in are impressed with the local committee we have assembled. They are awesome people. Hope they figure out how to take care of themselves as well, basically setting their own lives aside to do this job of organizing.

“The rain was nice, but scared us because of floods.

“Too much sadness, Gene. Guess today is going to be a blue day for me — which means tomorrow will be better.”
— — — — — —
There’s a lot to rebuild in Yarnell. Donations may be sent to the Yarnell
Hill Recovery Fund at the National Bank of Arizona, Account #7600002730.
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