Marj Goosey: Diary from the Dixie Fire frontline

August 05, 2021 | by Admin

Marj Goosey: Diary from the Dixie Fire frontline

The Way Station bar burns as the Dixie Fire tears through the Greenville community of Plumas County, Calif., on Wednesday, Aug. 4, 2021. The fire leveled multiple historic buildings and dozens of homes in central Greenville.Noah Berger/AP

Greenville UMC member Marj Goosey reached out to Bishop Minerva G. Carcaño with thanks after reading Bishop's special message on Thursday July 29th in support of those affected by the Dixie Fire with instructions and ideas for each of us to be a part of the coming recovery. Marj and her community are under evacuation orders and she has agreed to send frequent reports that we can share detailing conditions on the ground.

As we prepare to share Marj's reflections, we understand that Greenville was heavily impacted by the Dixie Fire in the last 24 hours. Marj's latest report is listed first in the sequence below.

What follows in her sequence of reports is a picture of how the eratic and explosive nature of wildfires hold people hostage in the not knowing of what the next day will bring. We share these with you and ask for your continued prayers for Marj and her community as well as all living in the path of our earliest fires.  Fire season 2021 promises to be 'catastrophic', so let's also pray with our hands and feet to prepare for recovery efforts that are beginning even now.

Click here to read Associated Press report : The Dixie Fire Has Destroyed Most Of A Historic Northern California Town. 
 

Thursday August 5th - Greenville is gone

By now you know much of Greenville is gone including the Methodist Church. Suspect my house is gone. I have heard from some of the folks.  

The fire roared into Greenville and propane tanks started exploding.  

Concrete buildings may be empty shells - as the Sheriff's station is; we are not getting pictures and no one here has a radio that works. There is a Local Assistance Center that will be opening at 11 this morning --- we may get more info there.

Ken Donnell made it out barely. He was here. We did get several more from Greeneville last night. Others are telling me the town just 'exploded' and I have seen videos of buildings burning along 89: the bank, sherriff station, hotel, professional building housing the community service district and the physical therapist and TANIF. The grocery and Mohawk gas station are gone. 

Circuit leader Pastor Becky Stockdale was here last night and we prayed and talked. She will be here later at the Relief Center.

Meanwhile we still need rain - this beast isn't dead, yet!   I do know of one injury - he was treated HERE - but have not heard of any others and so far no lives lost, but we may know more on that later. I'm not sure about some of my neighbors who may not have gotten out, and I pray that they DID get out safely and that they have someplace to go because they aren't HERE.  HERE is not full == at least not inside.   There may be folks in RVs and Campers outside - and I know of one tent out there.  

GOD STILL HAS US IN THE PALMS OF HIS HANDS!  HE KNOWS ALL.  In time, we may understand why this has happened -- but for now, we can only pray and let HIM DO WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE. I'm trusting and believing that HE has something better planned for us, and that these agencies that will be at the Assistance center are being USED BY HIM.  FEMA is noticeably NOT HERE.  

Please keep Greenville in your prayers. There is always the 'chance' that something survived.  

God have mercy on us.

Marj, from  from the Springs of Hope Red Cross Shelter in East Quincy

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Thursday July 29th - Early days in the shelter

I am a member of the Greenville church and I'm sitting at an Evacuation shelter in East Quincy --doubly evacuated, because I was at my daughter's when she was evacuated and we went to my house and were evacuated again.

I am so grateful to the Springs of Hope Christian Fellowship for allowing the Red Cross o set up this shelter here. I was even able to attend church with them on Sunday. 

All roads into Greenville are currently closed, which includes most of the roads into Chester.  I did notify Pastor Mele as soon as we were aware that there'd be no way for her to get to either church.  Chester itself is not in potential danger, but all of the east, west and south shores of Lake Almanor have been evacuated.  Some of the West Shore is GONE.  The fire is now up to over 222,000 acres and still growing and only 23% contained. Thanx be to God there are no confirmed injuries or deaths related to this fire. Property lost, yes! 

All of the Members of the Greenville church are safe; either in shelters like I am, or with friends and family away from the fire area. I have not heard from the Chester church, but I do know there were no services there last Sunday. 

We are praying for a nice, drenching rain and for the winds to blow the fires back onto themselves. WE DO NOT NEED LIGHTNING!  That would make matters so much worse because the area is so dry.  We have had light rain showers and a helpful inversion layer, but not enough help, yet.  GOD IS GOOD and I have met some wonderful Christian friends here. 

Marj, from  from the Springs of Hope Red Cross Shelter in East Quincy

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Friday, July 30th - Road closures and community building
Thank you so much for all of the prayers sent heavenward for us up here in the Wilderness of the High Sierra.  Being in the middle of a National Forest has pluses and minuses and we are experiencing the latter these last 2 weeks and possibly several days more.  We were reminded about 30 minutes ago that ALL THE ROADS INTO GREENVILLE ARE CLOSED! SOME OF THE ROADS OUT OF QUINCY ARE CLOSED.  Quincy itself is doing fairly well and we've been told we can get our mail at the Quincy Post office.  Haven't tried that yet.  

I have met or re-met several fellow Believers here at the Shelter - which is nearly full - I think they can squeeze in a couple more people but that's it. We have several families in their motor homes outside, too.  We are being fed almost too well.  I thank God for this shelter, for the Red Cross and for the friends I've met here.  We are a community together even if we are from different places: there are folks here from Twain - they aren't sure their houses are still there; from Taylorsville - their homes are safe, so far; Keddie - safe but still can't go home.  Meadow Valley - not sure about property there.  No one here from Indian Falls but I do know those folks all GOT OUT and we know some of the houses are gone. Please pray for my friend Carol May - her's is one of the houses that is GONE!  She did go through Lay Speaker and Lay Minister training in the session after I did in 2008-2009.  

We had some lightning strikes last night which we didn't and don't need -- but not much rain, which we DO NEED..Again, thank you for all of the prayers - we can feel them.  God be with you
Marj, from the Springs of Hope Red Cross Shelter in East Quincy near the Sierra Pacific lumber mill, which is running around the clock just now. 

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Monday August 2nd - Morning: Waiting in the shelter, hoping for news
We are still in the shelter, some of us anyway.  Some went home when the MANDATORY EVACUATION was changed to a WARNING ALERT.  I'm told my house is still there, but the air quality is very bad and there are still spot fires in the area around Greenville and all of Indian Valley.  I've been advised to stay out at least one more day - and there are some here on oxygen tanks who are staying, too.  I do know that folks from Canyon Dam went home; Chester itself was never evacuated - but the area around Lake Almanor WAS; I've talked to some of the folks from the Chester Church and they are ok.

CalFire has not yet been in with new maps and a briefing - but they don't seem to have a set schedule of when they will show  up - it may be in a few minutes or a few hours.
The shelter in Chester closed and those who were there were either moved to another shelter or have gone home.  I do know of one person from the Greenville church who was taken from the Chester shelter to the hospital in Susanville.  He has COPD and is on oxygen. Like me, he is a Veteran; unlike me, he has some service-connected disabilities.

There are helicopters dumping retardant today - and there will be other aircraft dumping water on the fires later today. So, things are getting better, for which we can all THANK AND PRAISE OUR LORD.

I know of three families who lived in Indian Falls who have lost their homes; Indian Falls is a small community at the 'bottom' end of Indian Valley; there were not many living there, but the Dawn Institute that was there is gone.  They did employ several people and had gardens that supplied fresh vegetables to food banks and community suppers and people could go and 'pick their own'.  

So far as I know, Taylorsville and the Arlington Road area are safe - but again, the air quality is bad and there are spot fires in the hills around the entire valley.  So, we still need prayers for rain and winds that either cooperate in helping put the fires out, or are calm and don't blow very hard at all.  

There are still spot fires between where my daughter lives and the Greenville Wye - where SR 89 connects with SR 70.  So far, her place is safe and those who live in that complex have already gone home - except my daughter and our family.  We may or may not go there today. She is at the emergency room, NOW,  getting help for pain. She has had very bad headaches for months and they have done SCANS on her head and neck and don't know what is causing the pains she is having. Please keep her in your prayers that the medical folks can at least help aleve the pain if they can't determine the cause.

The American Red Cross volunteers at the shelter have been very good to us and the Senior Center that has been preparing our food has done a wonderful job.  We have had public health nurses here every day and they were doing COVID testing here today. We also thank God for the Springs of Hope Christian Fellowship church for allowing us to use their Gymnasium as an evacuation shelter. Their pastor has been in and out almost every day.  Since I cannot get to the Greenville church - which has been closed for the last two Sundays because Pastor Mele can't get THERE, either - I have attended the church here.  There was at least one family at the shelter who also worship here and there is a Sunday School for the children.  GOD IS GOOD, ALL THE TIME!

This may be my last communication from the shelter. Please continue to pray for those of us affected by this fire -- and we thank GOD that there have been no lives lost and no injuries - at least none confirmed. Lost property - yes!  Many places including Twain, Belden, Meadow Valley, Butterfly Valley, Indian Falls --- and please continue to pray for all of those who have lost their homes - or whose homes may have sustained some damage from the fires or the efforts to stop the fires.  

At last report, there are more than 6100 fire fighters here from more places than I know - though I've seen vehicles from as far away as Los Angeles County  and San Diego.  Some of the Red Cross volunteers are from as far away as Maryland and Georgia. THEY ARE ALL VOLUNTEERS.  Many of the firefighters may NOT be volunteers at their home stations -- but all of the firefighters from Plumas County ARE volunteers.  

Some of the burned areas are in Butte or Tehama county - but mostly in Plumas National Forest and not endangering people or property.  Still, this has been a devastating fire with all of the timber lost.  Logging is a principal industry here --- and loggers are still dealing with the burned timber from the Camp Fire almost 3  years ago.  And, like the Camp Fire, this one was most likely started at about the same location at a PG&E power station.  

PRAYERS are still needed - good, WET, weather, cooperative winds and good air quality so the air support can fly.  I think that today is the first time in several days that there is air support ...

God Bless and Keep YOU.
Marj, Greenville UMC,  reporting from the ARC Evac Shelter at Springs of Hope in East Quincy

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Monday August 2, Afternoon:  Rapidly changing conditions
We are once again under MANDATORY GET OUT NOW orders for Greenville and a large portion of INDIAN Valley.  

An arm of this fire is bearing down on GREENVILLE FAST!  Don't know whether it's a back burn that got out of control or what; MAYBE A SPARK FROM THE FIRE STARTED THIS ONE. They've had air support dumping retardant and water most of the day.

Those people who did go home - I didn't - are now having to get out, again.  THIS IS THE ONLY SHELTER OPEN IN PLUMAS COUNTY. THE ONE IN CHESTER IS CLOSED AND SOME OF THE RED CROSS VOLUNTEERS ALREADY LEFT, even some of those who were here..  SR 89 is closed from Crescent Mills north to the junction with SR 36, and parts of SR 36 west of that junction are also under GET OUT NOW orders.  So far, Chester is ok, the east shore of Lake Almanor and the Peninsula are OK.  The major concern right NOW IS GREENVILLE.

I have tried to contact some of the folks I know went home either yesterday or this morning -- I could only reach one and she's on her way back to this shelter. I'm concerned about one person that I know doesn't drive but he is not answering his phone.  Hopefully he has someone to get him out -- I can't.  THIS IS NOT GOOD!  

We have been helping reset up the bunks for the shelter - the biggest concern may be blankets and towels. They were out of pillows when I GOT HERE 12 Days ago; people who were here either took the blankets and towels with them or left them and the church is washing them.   The RED CROSS says they can't reuse them.
We do need continued prayers for rain and for visibility for air support.
Marj, Greenville UMC,  reporting from the ARC Evac Shelter at Springs of Hope in East Quincy

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Tuesday August 3rd, Morning: An up and down day in the shelter
I learned from Pastor Mele that the shelter in Chester is open and that some of the Greenville folks are there. This is good news. An answer to prayer.
We still don't know how Greenville is. We have had mixed reports.  Some good, some not.

We continue to pray for rain and for God to protect all of those who are helping to fight the fire. It is now over 264,000 acres and still 34% contained.  The fire grew by more than 2600 acres overnight.. About 700 of the out of area fire fighters have left.

Evacuation orders now include all of both East and West Shores of Lake Amanor, Taylorsville and Genesee, and Crescent Mills. AGAIN! Round two.  
It has been an up and down day.  So far. We pray God will be with all of those affected by this beast, human and animal.
We know there is a purpose in all things. God is here.
God Bless all of you, With heartfelt prayers
Marj, Greenville UMC,  reporting from the ARC Evac Shelter at Springs of Hope in East Quincy

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Tuesday August 3rd, Afternoon - Greenville faces fingers of fire
Looking at the most recent map of this fire, it looks like the "finger of fire" that was pointing directly at the heart has been directed away from Greenville.  We were breathing sighs of relief. This was 2 hours ago.

We are hearing that those at the Chester shelter are being moved to Susanville. Chester is being evacuated.
There has been a shift. There are now too more "fingers of fire" pointing at Greenville. We are now in 'wait, pray, and hope' mode. We are praying that we get rain and lots of rain and no winds at all.  

It doesn't look good. Please pray for us.
In Christ alone is our hope. He is our strength and our shield.
Marj, Greenville UMC,  reporting from the ARC Evac Shelter at Springs of Hope in East Quincy