This is a cute picture of Peaches riding ‘shotgun’ in the words of the San Francisco Chronicle journalist, Sarah Ravani. It was taken by Santiago Mejia of The Chronicle.
Peaches is on the shoulder of her human companion,Richard Tafalla, as he drives back to his home in his RV.
He’s on Highway 32 and it was Thursday Nov 15th 2018 in Forest Ranch, Butte County, California. The road had been closed and the evacuation oder for the area had recently been lifted.
Six days earlier, Richard had fled his home with wife, Kathryn, and Peaches and some essential personal possessions. Kathryn was at work.
With great good fortune, their home was undamaged. The fire works like that; it is through pure luck as to whether cinders and sparks lands on a house and burns it to the ground. Some houses simply escaped while all around is ash.
The second photograph, also by Mejia, shows Peaches cautiously inspecting the interior of her home before fully entering as if it had become a strange place. Perhaps the smell of ash and destruction had changed the scent in the home. She’ll get used to it quickly.
Richard said that it felt like he’d been away for ever. That’s the feeling you can be left with when you live though a disaster like the Camp Fire which scorched 141,000 acres leaving 1,000 people missing. The death toll rises daily.
“I’m so happy to be home. We survived. It’s smoky but we survived.”
The evacuation order was downgraded to a warning mid-afternoon last Thursday in the Forest Ranch area. However, residents have been warned to remain vigilant. Thinking of the time they had to leave in haste, Richard said:
“Boy, we just grabbed stuff and ran.”
During their evacuation they stayed with friends, at RV parks and in motels. Richard considers himself to be lucky.
“There are people a lot worse than me. I was very lucky.”
And so was Peaches. She did not run away. This was probably because the fire was far enough away not to have startled her.