The situation for many of the thousands of evacuees who remain displaced by wildfires in Northern California is an unhappy one for more reasons than the loss of homes and neighbors. Evacuation shelters remain crowded, uncomfortable places where sleep is hard to come by, and for some it's unclear where home will even be once the fires are put out.
The Associated Press reports that the Red Cross shelter at the Santa Rosa fairgrounds includes "barking dogs, loud snorers and a woman who appears to have dementia crying out every night."
Lois Krier, 86, is at the shelter with her 89-year-old husband, and tells the AP that the cots they've been sleeping on are pretty uncomfortable. And Nicole Lonefight, who lost a brand new prefabricated home in the Tubbs Fire, tells the AP, "It’s already overwhelming to get through what you did," and it seems even moreso for the many elderly who have lost all the comforts of home.
About 40,000 people remain evacuated as of Monday morning, as the Chronicle reports via Cal Fire, and that is down from 100,000 late last week. Evacuees who still have homes to return to will likely all be given the all-clear this week as the largest fires are now reaching significant levels of containment.
But Marin County opened their second evacuation shelter on Saturday, just two days ago, on The Seminary at Strawberry in Mill Valley. The shelter was opened in order provide space for those evacuees who were being turned away from overcrowded shelters in Petaluma and elsewhere, as the Marin Independent Journal reports. Not counting state parks and coastal areas, Sonoma County has listed 15 shelters for evacuees, six of which are in Santa Rosa, and five of which are in Petaluma.
There has been an outpouring of generosity, generally, for fire victims, and as the LA Times notes, Napa County has told people to stop providing donated food because they've received too much cash donations are preferred.
Additionally, on Saturday, the county opened a one-stop aid center for evacuees and the displaced, as the Chronicle reports, in Santa Rosa. Hundreds lined up there over the weekend to register for FEMA assistance, get free sleeping bags, and even get new driver's licenses.