Update: October 18th, 2017 – Still Evacuated

Since writing the post below, the conditions here in Santa Rosa worsened dramatically. We were allowed back for approximately 8 hours before a new fire emerged which threatened our house. At 5am the next day, we were awakened to sirens in the neighborhood and police officers shouting over their loudspeakers to evacuate immediately. Just to the east, we could see approaching red flames. Terrified doesn’t begin to describe the mad rush to evacuate my elderly parents (95 and 88) from the house in just 15 minutes. As we drove away, we were stuck in long traffic lines praying that the fire wouldn’t move into us from behind. Thankfully, with a now massive fire fighting force, dozens of firefighters and police officers from around the state kept us safe and able to evacuate. We still, as yet, have no return date. There are many hot spots near us due to a two mile back fire that was triggered last night. When we return, we could have significant smoke damage. Hopefully, the three air filters I left running are still doing their job.

Here’s a video of the TUBBS fire as firefighters approached. This roared by our house by about two miles to the north. It moved so quickly that people ran for their lives with nothing but their clothes.

Personally, the stress of the past ten days has taken their toll mostly due to worrying about the health of my elderly parents. My father was furious that we were evacuated twice and even though the national guard is now watching our neighborhood for looters, he wants to be THERE! (He is a WW2 veteran and fleeing isn’t in his makeup.) My mother is quite feeble and moving quickly is simply not possible. I can see now why most of those who died in the fires were elderly. Most didn’t use cell phones thus didn’t receive the alerts to evacuate. Some died as they were trying to flee the flames.

My IC has done remarkably well considering. It’s hard being away from the foods and routine of our daily lives, trying to make bladder and bowel friendly decisions. I’m basically eating just two small meals a day for the duration and have lost some weight but that’s ok. What’s not ok are the hundreds of unanswered emails and delayed projects because of this journey. When we return, I’ll start finalizing the Fall IC Optimist.

Thank you so very much for your notes of support and encouragement. After struggling with a cancer scare for six months earlier this year, these fires have added yet another reason why I’ll be happy to see 2017 disappear. I’m praying that 2018 will be a much safer and more hopeful year! – Jill O.

October 12, 2017 – ICN Corporate Office Closed Indefinitely But Sales & Shipping Open

The California wild fires, especially the ones in Sonoma County, have dramatically reduced our operations. Our corporate office based in Santa Rosa lost power last Sunday night and was surrounded on three sides by active fires. Terrified? Beyond is the word. The TUBBS fire burned homes about two miles away from our office. When the smoke cleared for a few hours, we could see the NUNS fire burning just across the Sonoma Valley into Oakmont (where our bank is at) and across Annadel state park south into Bennett Valley. To the east, at night, we could see the glow of several more fires.

The smoke has been so intense it has been difficult to breathe. Without power, we had to resort to charging cell phone in my car. We had limited gasoline, all stations closed, thus had to plan very carefully to evacuate when the time came. We’ve been of on high alert for days.

Last night, we received notice of a voluntary evacuation of northeast Santa Rosa. Though active fire was about seven miles away, the fear continues to be high winds and hot embers lighting the hillsides up. At one point, the TUBBS fire was burning a football field in length every 3 seconds. People have died running from the fires because they didn’t leave early so we did evacuate. There is a heavy police presence to prevent looters and some neighbors are still there watching out for us all.

So, as you might guess, we cannot answer the ICN corporate administrative or patient support phone lines. Our warehouse, however, is up and running and processing orders placed on Amazon and in our store. Given that every single one of the ICN employees here are trying to save their homes and families, I hope that you will be patient with us and, better yet, please send your prayers. I’ve never been more scared in my life than I was when I was awoken at 1:30AM to red skies around the house. We’ve been told that the same high winds will again arrive on Saturday with estimated 50 mph gusts. This is a disaster in the making so, again, all prayers (and rain) are desperately needed.

On a side note, it’s remarkable how we come together in times of need. Neighbors helping neighbors, complete strangers offering hugs and words of condolence. Just yesterday there was a couple handing out free air masks at our local supermarket. It’s a remarkable return to kindness and caring after a year of division and political taunting. It’s very comforting to see that the soul of America, the people who come together in times of need, is intact and ready to help.