Tzu Chi USA Carr Wildfire Relief for California Residents
News | October 8, 2018 by Northwest Region
A tire failed last month on a trailer and its rim scraped the asphalt of the road creating sparks. The results were catastrophic for an entire region. California fire officials said that the sparks that shot out July 23 from that minor incident, ignited what is now the sixth-most destructive wildfire in state history. California resident Michael Laird and his family were one of many to lose their home and livelihood to the fire.
When the fire reached Redding, California, Michael and his family saw two homes on his street catch fire just a mere 150 yards from their home as they were loading up their car to leave, and within ten minutes theses homes were fully engulfed by flames. Winds increased drastically within seconds from 5 to 75 mph winds, as homes within the neighborhood were blown apart. The winds were so strong in Redding, they uprooted trees, ripped off roofs and downed power lines.
To make matters worse, a tornado appeared. Experts described it as a "firenado," when a fire's intense heat causes the air to heat up and rise rapidly. That, combined with strong winds, creates a vortex similar to a dust devil that pulls fires in different directions. California residents lost their homes and their livelihoods to these.
Michael and his family left their homes with nothing but the clothes on their back. Michael says that,
“[We] feel blessed to have been able to have done so. If [we] had taken anymore time to try and pack some things, I don’t know if we would have been able to make it out.”
The Lairds were able to escape the perilous weather before any lives were taken.
Unfortunately this was not the case for all Redding residents, as it caught many by surprise. Seven individuals were not as lucky, and lost their lives to the fire.
With the help of Tzu Chi USA, Michael Laird has been able to begin to put his life back together. Tzu Chi USA has provided the Lairds with financial retributions to assist them in rebuilding a new home and a new start.
Tzu Chi USA's help inspired Michael Laird and his family to want to give back in return what they have been given.
"[Tzu Chi USA’s efforts], it humbles you," Michael explains. "It makes you realize that there is something much bigger than yourself and that it’s up to you to continue that. Through the help that we received here we want to continue to expand that and try to help it grow in any way that we possibly can."
Michael Laird was only one of many families within the Redding, California area who were impacted by the Carr Wildfires.
Over this past month, the Tzu Chi USA Carr Wildfire relief distribution provided a total of $172,900 in much-needed aid to families, and emotional comfort from 8/2-8/19 to 298 families affected by the Mendocino Complex Fire.
While the wildfire rages through Redding, California, our Tzu Chi USA volunteers will continue their efforts on providing disaster relief to those affected. Our volunteers are currently in the Lake Keswick Estate, Lake Redding, and Shasta areas providing disaster relief to families affected by this catastrophic wildfire.
Tzu Chi USA’s ongoing efforts to provide disaster relief to Carr Fire evacuated families cannot be possible without your support. Let’s continue the efforts to help Carr Fire survivors impacted by this devastating wildfire receive aid today.