Thanks so much to all of you family and friends who have reached out to us during this wildfire experience. We really appreciate your concern for us and are so very thankful for all of you.
As you probably know, our town of Ojai and the surrounding communities have been impacted this week by one of the largest wildfires in California history. The Thomas Fire started the evening of December 4th in nearby Santa Paula and was driven westward by ferocious Santa Ana winds at an alarming pace — up to 1 acre per second. Many people in parts of Ventura had only moments to get out of their homes in time. It is nothing short of a miracle that only two people have lost their lives.
My family and I evacuated Tuesday morning the 5th and anxiously followed the news before returning home Monday the 11th. We were so thankful to learn that the firefighters were able to, for the most part, save the Ojai Valley. Our downtown businesses, hotels and landmarks are safe.
It really is miraculous. As you can see on the map, the fire was literally all around the Ojai Valley. The danger to us has mostly passed except for the unhealthy air quality due to all the smoke. Filtration masks will be the Ojai fashion statement for awhile.
Despite the heroic work of the firefighters, first responders, utility workers and many brave residents, many people did lose their homes. As I write this, at least 700 homes have been destroyed. Some in Upper Ojai and Matilija Canyon, and many in Ventura.
HOW YOU CAN HELP:
• Help of Ojai – our local nonprofit community support center. 100% of fire-related donations will go directly to Ojai residents affected by the Thomas Fire, with zero administration fees. Make sure to identify your donation as #firerelief Visit Help of Ojai’s donation page on Facebook.
• Ojai Relief – a website set up by community members to provide resources for residents affected by the Thomas Fire. Visit ojairelief.com.
• Ventura County Humane Society – caring for displaced animals. Visit hsvc.org.
• Our Ojai Valley Fire Stations – Stations #21, #22 and #23. Visit vcfd.org.
• Shop Local – if you’re still looking for holiday gifts, consider buying from our local Ojai businesses. Book a hotel room for an Ojai Spring vacation. Register for a class with a local artisan. Buy a local restaurant gift card. Purchase artwork that depicts our beautiful Ojai Valley. Anything will help as our businesses struggle with a decrease in tourism this season.
Once again, thank you for your concern for us and for your love of the Ojai Valley. Please continue to pray for those affected by this continuing fire.
We will get through this together! #OjaiStrong