California is beginning a massive cleanup and recovery after a month of devastating wildfires.

Firefighter Trevor Smith battles the Tubbs Fire near Calistoga, California, in October. Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.

With 250 square miles ablaze, October 2017 was a particularly bad month for wildfires in Northern California. At least 8,400 homes have been lost, and many of the nearby businesses — including vineyards and wineries — have been damaged as well.


Charred wine barrels at Paradise Ridge Winery. Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.

The property damage is well over $1 billion, and at last count, 42 people lost their lives.

But though the fires were undeniably devastating, neighbors and volunteers were quick to help out. People opened up their homes to evacuees, donated supplies and cash, and even helped save and recuperate pets and animals left behind by or separated from their owners.

[rebelmouse-image 19531866 dam="1" original_size="750x500" caption="A "lost cat" poster on a telephone pole. Photo by Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images." expand=1]A "lost cat" poster on a telephone pole. Photo by Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images.

As of late October, the majority of the fires have been contained, which means the towns and cities affected by the fire will now need to begin to rebuild.

Getty photographer Justin Sullivan visited one community that had been hit by the fire. This is what he saw:

Coffey Park, a neighborhood in Santa Rosa, California, was one of the most densely populated areas affected by the Tubbs Fire in the early morning of Oct. 9.

Residents sift through the remains of their Coffey Park home. Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.

Entire swaths of houses have been reduced to their foundations. Chimneys stand alone like monuments.

Freestanding chimneys in a burned-down neighborhood. Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.

A skateboarder inadvertently created a shocking comparison video of the neighborhood before and after the fire.

The brick facade is all that remains of one particular home. Someone has scrawled its street address on the skeleton of an old tree out front.

The brick facade of a home destroyed by the Tubbs Fire. Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.

Residents like Renee Hernandez and her son Ben are coming back to sift through the remains of their homes.

Renee Hernandez (left) watches her son Ben (right) digging through the debris. Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.

Though the devastation may appear to be complete, small miracles like this figurine emerge from the ashes.

A figurine of a woman among the rubble. Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.

With the fires contained, people are now looking toward recovery and rebuilding.

An insurance adjuster walks through the neighborhood. Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.

It's going to be a big undertaking. Before the logistical nightmare of rebuilding can even begin, entire neighborhoods will need a thorough cleaning due to toxic chemicals from melted plastics and pesticide — even ammo from a ruined gun store need to be cleaned up.

Wildfires are dangerous, terrifying disasters that can wipe out entire neighborhoods in what seems like the blink of an eye. And with climate change potentially worsening this problem, we'll need to think about how we prepare and plan for these disasters.

Though cleanup and rebuilding will be tough, Coffey Park still seems to maintain a resilient spirit.

An American flag hangs in front of a ruined home. Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.

And at least one homeowner seems unbowed by their tragedy.

A message spray-painted on a driveway. Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.

Joy

Man uses TikTok to offer 'dinner with dad' to any kid that needs one, even adult ones

Summer Clayton is the father of 2.4 million kids and he couldn’t be more proud.

Come for the food, stay for the wholesomeness.

Summer Clayton is the father of 2.4 million kids and he couldn’t be more proud. His TikTok channel is dedicated to giving people intimate conversations they might long to have with their own father, but can’t. The most popular is his “Dinner With Dad” segment.

The concept is simple: Clayton, aka Dad, always sets down two plates of food. He always tells you what’s for dinner. He always blesses the food. He always checks in with how you’re doing.

I stress the stability here, because as someone who grew up with a less-than-stable relationship with their parents, it stood out immediately. I found myself breathing a sigh of relief at Clayton’s consistency. I also noticed the immediate emotional connection created just by being asked, “How was your day?” According to relationship coach and couples counselor Don Olund, these two elements—stability and connection—are fundamental cravings that children have of their parents. Perhaps we never really stop needing it from them.


Keep Reading Show less

Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy asked his Senate colleagues the questions millions of Americans have after a mass shooting.

Another school shooting. Another mass murder of innocent children. They were elementary school kids this time. There were 18 children killed—so far—this time.

The fact that I can say "this time" is enraging, but that's the routine nature of mass shootings in the U.S. It happened in Texas this time. At least three adults were killed this time. The shooter was a teenager this time.

The details this time may be different than the last time and the time before that, and the time before that, and the time before that. But there's one thing all mass shootings have in common. No, it's not mental illness. It's not racism or misogyny or religious extremism. It's not bad parenting or violent video games or lack of religion.

Some of those things have been factors in some shootings, but the single common denominator in every mass shooting is guns. That's not a secret. It's not controversial. It's fact. The only thing all mass shootings have in common is guns.

Keep Reading Show less
Joy

Meet Eva, the hero dog who risked her life saving her owner from a mountain lion

Wilson had been walking down a path with Eva when a mountain lion suddenly appeared.

Photo by Didssph on Unsplash

A sweet face and fierce loyalty: Belgian Malinois defends owner.

The Belgian Malinois is a special breed of dog. It's highly intelligent, extremely athletic and needs a ton of interaction. While these attributes make the Belgian Malinois the perfect dog for police and military work, they can be a bit of a handful as a typical pet.

As Belgian Malinois owner Erin Wilson jokingly told NPR, they’re basically "a German shepherd on steroids or crack or cocaine.”

It was her Malinois Eva’s natural drive, however, that ended up saving Wilson’s life.

According to a news release from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Wilson had been walking down a path with Eva slightly ahead of her when a mountain lion suddenly appeared and swiped Wilson across the left shoulder. She quickly yelled Eva’s name and the dog’s instincts kicked in immediately. Eva rushed in to defend her owner.

It wasn’t long, though, before the mountain lion won the upper hand, much to Wilson’s horror.

She told TODAY, “They fought for a couple seconds, and then I heard her start crying. That’s when the cat latched on to her skull.”

Keep Reading Show less