As the anniversary of the massive wildfires in Northern California arrives, researchers are trying to pinpoint the best ways to treat the anxiety, depression, and trauma left in the disaster’s wake.
“An aerial view of homes that were destroyed by the Tubbs Fire on October 11, 2017 in Santa Rosa, California. Twenty-one people have died in wildfires that have burned tens of thousands of acres and destroyed over 3,000 homes and businesses in several Northen California counties. – JUSTIN SULLIVAN/GETTY IMAGES”
by Matt Simon
“A YEAR AGO, while on a tourist visit to Latvia, Sharon Bard was awoken at 4 am by a buzzing alert from her phone. It was an email from a friend who’d been checking on her home in Santa Rosa, California. Given the alarming news, the email’s phrasing was rather gentle: A fire had broken out in the area, officials had ordered evacuations, and Bard’s country house at the end of a road might be affected.
“Then came the deluge. Six or seven emails from other folks arrived, with more urgent queries like ‘oh my God, are you OK?’ So Bard checked CNN, and sure enough, there was the fire. This was not just local news. What neither Bard nor anyone else knew at this point was that what would become the most destructive conflagration in California history, the Tubbs Fire, was well on its way to destroying more than 5,500 structures, killing 22 people, and causing $1.2 billion in damage.
“For three days after that first email jolted her awake, Bard traded frantic messages with friends.”