Recently, The Napa Valley Register took stock of where Napa County is six months after the wildfires that killed 44 people and destroyed 9,000 homes and buildings. While the wounds are still deep (and the obstacles loom large), the newspaper reflects a sentiment a lot of people need right now: hope. The core message of the editorial was to show that Napa was getting stronger in response to tragedy.
The Napa Valley Community Foundation Is Coordinating Relief
The Napa Valley Community Foundation has given out $5 million to 485 households in the county, with another $2 million approved in grants to local non-profits. Many of these households didn't suffer direct damage—they've facing hardship due to extended loss of work.
When disaster strikes, the effects of trauma don't take hold for up to a year after the event. The Napa Valley Community Foundation has set written a grant to increase funding at the Napa Fire Recovery Center to reinforce local mental health services. It's just in time—many people in the fire zone will begin to realize they need help over the next several weeks and months.
Local Lawmakers Pushing for Change to Make Napa Safer
State lawmakers are already working to protect Napa County from future natural disasters. Equipping medical clinics and streamlining the process for fire victims to get insurance have been Assemblymember Cecilia Aguiar-Curry's mission in recent weeks. Senator Bill Dodd is working on the problem from a safety perspective, improving power lines and fire prevention (discussed in a previous blog).
One of the most tragic stories to come out of the wildfires was the deaths of several people who died in their garages because the doors wouldn't open—the power was out, and many people have electric garages without a battery backup. The senator will also be pushing a law to require garage doors to have a battery backup.
Both lawmakers and non-profit relief agencies are working on creating a stronger future for Napa Valley residents. In the wake of tragedy and destruction, we're building a newer, safer Napa County—and for that, we are thankful.
To read the rest of the editorial, visit here.