Cleaning Up: Life after Fire
Untold Stories from California's 2017 Wildfires
On October 9, 2017 a downed telephone pole lit aflame a redwood in Potter Valley. Soon after, the neighboring town of Redwood Valley and much of Mendocino County was engulfed in flames. It would come to be known as the Redwood Valley Complex fires, and would destroy over 36,000 acres of land. Within days, several others would break out to create a series of 250 wildfires burning across the northern half of California. Fierce winds served to stoke the flames, producing the worst fires northern California has ever seen. It's estimated that approximately 250,000 acres burned during the October fires, which spread across nine counties, tearing a hole in wine country. Nearly 9,000 structures were destroyed, including residential homes, ranches, and vineyards. Though Mendocino county was one of the hardest hit, its news coverage took a backseat to the devastation in Napa and Sonoma as those counties receive higher television ratings.
This photo essay serves to pay tribute to the communities in Mendocino county, and in particular, Redwood Valley, as they rebuild after the Redwood Valley Complex fires - the most devastating to ever hit the region. Here are their stories.
Photograph: © Kate Schoenbach, Sprite can, California, November 21, 2017.
Photograph © Kate Schoenbach, Lily, Redwood Valley, California, November 21, 2017. Lily Meirmont, like many other residents of Mendocino County, fear that higher temperatures and drier weather in recent years have led to increased risk of wildfires in northern California.
Photograph © Kate Schoenbach, Tack room, Redwood Valley, California, November 21, 2017.
Photograph © Kate Schoenbach, American flag, Redwood Valley, California, November 21, 2017.