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March 1, 2022

A Mother's Story Of The Marshall Fires


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This week's episode addresses the difficult topic of loss. On December 30th, 2021 the Marshall Fire in Boulder County, Colorado destroyed 1,100 homes in a single day. It was the largest and most devastating fire for home loss in the state’s history. Join me for my discussion with Rachel Matz, a single mother of two. Hear her share her experience of that day. Listen to how she handled evacuating her family and what she can expect in the days ahead. Join us on our Facebook group at facebook.com/groups/reallifemomz to continue to support one another in times of need. And don’t forget to follow Real Life Momz, so you don't miss an episode. --- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app

Find out how you can help those affected by the Marshall Fire visit: https://www.commfound.org/wildfirefund

 

Transcript

Welcome to Real Life Momz. I'm your host, Lisa Foster and Real Life Momz is a podcast. That's all about real conversations with real-life issues that parents deal with every day. Our mission is to connect moms by talking about these topics and to continue those conversations through our Real Life Momz, Facebook group where we'd love for you to become part of our community. As many of you have heard in the national news on December 30th, in  Colorado, and as we're getting ready for the end the year and to celebrate a new one, a massive fire broke out and devastated a community with over a thousand homes destroyed. Today we have Rachel Matz here to share her story of that tragic day.

 

Hi, Rachel, welcome to Real Life Momz. Hey Lisa, I'm excited to chat with you today. I'm so honored that you're here today and willing to talk about this story and about your experience in the Marshall fires that happened in Colorado back on December 30th, that actually destroyed about, I think it's like over a thousand homes, is that right? That is right. Yep. Yeah. So for people who don't know this, um, because we have people listening from all over, let's give some background of what went on that day, as much as we know. Right.

Cause we're still kind of a little unsure. Well, you know, this was a really interesting fire. Colorado has lots of fires, but usually, they're in the mountains, um, with a lot of trees and things. And this one was very different. Cause, first of all, it was winter and it was in a neighborhood and it was like a windy day. That's like what? A hundred miles per hour winds. Yeah, we had clocked winds, I think around 104 miles per hour in a very residential, suburban neighborhood. Ironically, I have a fire station across the street from my house. Oh, that should be handy, but maybe not, maybe not in this situation. Right. And they're still unsure about what started the fire. Am I correct with that? They're investigating it. They have some ideas. Um, but they haven't yet put out the report. So this fire starts and it spreads so fast because of this hundred mile, 104 miles per hour wind. And what people aren't understanding is it it's spreading as fast as a football field in length. Right. It's like catching fire that quickly. And it's going through multiple neighborhoods. I mean, it's superior, it's Louisville, it's Boulder. It's, it's a bunch of different towns hitting this fire.

So this was massive. So just putting that out there and so, so fast. So that's, I think that was the biggest kind of impact was it just, nobody had time to do anything. It was just so, so fast. In fact, we've we had lived in the mountains for 10 years prior and had been evacuated for fires up in the mountains and it's scary, but we always had time. Even if that time was 20 or 30 minutes, we would have time to gather something. This was, you know, 10, 20 seconds to go.

Wow. So where were you at the time it broke out? So, um, there are some blessings in it, which is my son was actually not home. He was at his dad's house, so I'm divorced. So he was safe in another city. Um, and my daughter and I were here, she is in high school and was, um, hoping to have a couple of friends over for new year's Eve.

So we were actually down in our basement decorating. She wanted to hang up some balloons and streamers and just make it look fun and festive for her friends to come over. And so we were a little bit oblivious. Um, neither one of us had our phones on us, which is so rare when you think about it. But I was happy to just have that time with her. And we were talking and about 45 minutes later, we came upstairs. And the first thing my daughter did naturally was grabbed her phone and she goes, mom, everyone's evacuating. And in my head, I'm thinking, well, it's, we've had wind, like, you know, it was windy, you know?

And I'm like, we've had one like this before, you know, it has its moments where you're scared, but it's not evacuation scary. And she said, no, mom, it's a fire.

And I said, what? And our house happens to back to open space behind us in the back also faces west, which is the direction that fire was coming from. And I turned around in the kitchen and there were flames. Like I felt like I could touch them. Whoa. So what did you do at that point? Panic mode? Yeah. Panic mode sets in, right. So it was immediately like, thankfully I had my wits about me and I just said to my daughter, you know, grab the dog. Um, I had, from our years living in the mountains, we have a portable kind of fireproof safe with all of our important documentation and things in one place in that safe.

So I said, grab the dogs and grabbing the safe. Um, and then we had to make the decision of, does she take her own car or do we all just go in my car?

Um, it's a relatively new driver, maybe not even six months yet, but at the same time, if the fire's whipping through, you want to try to get as many of your belongings out as you can. So we did have her take her car. Oh wow. At first we ended up ditching it along the way. Okay. Cause I was going to say that is, I mean, we, we left as well, but we were in no way in your situation, but you know, the one thing I was thinking is like to be together, you want to be together. Well, when we first left, like it just, again, it all happened so fast.

Right. I mean, when we first left I could see the fire coming, but like there wasn't smoke in the air at our house. And so it was like, oh, jump in your car.

We're going to head over to your dad's right where your brother is and kind of far enough away that we felt safe. Um, and by the time we left the neighborhood and then the traffic had become gridlock and now it was starting to be smoky and embers flying and hitting your car, you know? And we're on the phone, you know, together the whole time. Um, but at that point, you know, we weren't even a mile from the house and we just found a parking lot, um, at a nearby mall and left her car there. She jumped in, in my car. Yeah. Smart move. I would think. Yeah, I would want to be together. So when you said, like taking two cars and things, did you actually have time to actually bring any other stuff?

No. You just brought your safe and your cars and your daughter and our dock.

Yeah. When I said stuff, I meant the car. Right. Okay. So, and, it wasn't easy getting out. You were stuck in traffic. We were. Yeah. It wasn't a smooth ride. So what were you thinking at that point where you're just like not moving and it is getting smoky and you're in the car at first I felt, you know, it's going to be okay. You know, there was just, I had no idea the magnitude of what was going on. Right. I just, I had no idea at that point 300 houses were already gone.

I just was like, you know what, there's fire stations here. I live in a suburban neighborhood. They're gonna get control of this. It's coming from the, the, you know, the west where the kind of open spaces they'll contain it.

I just didn't really understand the magnitude yet. Then as we were driving, it's getting darker and darker and it felt like we were almost driving into the fire, into the smoke more. And then it became scary. You know, then there was definitely moments. And, um, my daughter even asked, she goes, are we going to die? Oh my God. That's so scary. Yeah. It is, what's your answer? What are you saying at this point? Because you don't know you're stuck in the smoke. I said, no, you know, we're going to be okay. There's, we've got to just trust that people are, you know, leading us in the right way.

And um, but you're saying that at the same time, you know, being nervous. Um, but I'm a mom and I'm trying to keep myself together for her sake, you know? And, and I think she was asking a little bit in jest.

Um, yeah, but it was that scary. I mean, it was, oh, wow. Because you just don't know where you're going. And then to be honest, I started thinking about, why am I following the car in front of me? That's following the car in front of them. Who's leading this pack. Right. And when they left to lead the pack, the fire's moved a thousand times since then. So like, how do I know? You know, I started having a little bit of like concern of, should I be trusting this process and right. It was scary. It was, it was, there were moments, right. You had no idea. And it would really was going wherever the wind blew it.

It could have changed at any point part of the problem and the winds being so fast that they couldn't control anything. Okay. So you finally get out of there, which is good. We were happy that you did that and you feel like you're in a safer spot. Um, at that point you're in a safer spot. I mean, I know when we kind of left, we watched the news the whole time to see what was going on. What were you guys doing? Were you kind of just trying to figure out, is your house still there? We where, what were you doing? When's your, so we got, you know, it took us about an hour to do what should have been a 15 minute drive.

So once we got there, initially, honestly, we had another moment of panic because all of a sudden the area we went to fell into a, um, potential evacuation zone, the fire started blowing that way.

In fact, I think we were right around the corner from where you folks were, because I had texted you. And you're like, you're at your ex-husbands. And I'm like, yeah, they're just evacuating. We just left. So, yeah. I didn't even have a lot of time at first to think about much other than, oh no, are we gonna have to evacuate? Where are we going? You know? And that, that panic mode sets in once we kind of realized, all right, we don't need to evacuate. I became, you know, the kids, one of the blessings, right. Having another house, they had some normalcy, they had their rooms and their technology and you know, their dogs there.

And they, they just had sort of things that felt normal to them. I honestly hold up in the guestroom and just stared at screens for the next 12 hours.

It was really hard watching the news and knowing the areas that were going up and seeing houses, oh, I know that house, you know, I know this place. Um, it must've been really hard to figure out like where you were in that mix, like what your house may be like, that's exactly what it was. It was like, I want to have as many screens with different TV channels on them because they all have different angles or they're in different neighborhoods. And I'm trying to find some sort of orientation point to be like, is that my neighborhood is that my street, you know, is that my house?

Um, and so it's, I really didn't have any confirmation, you know, I don't even think I slept at all that night, but, you know, didn't really know until the next day much later, the next day they started putting out, um, lists of burned homes and what areas were not burned.

Yeah. Yeah. It was. I mean, I remember kind of losing, you know, just going through the mental process of thinking you, your house burned down. Like I went through that feeling and then it was interesting to hear my kids, you know, they, you know, of course, they don't understand the full magnitude of it, but my daughter is 16, you know, she's like, oh my clothes. Like that was what she was concerned about was her wardrobe. Yeah. And my son who's 12 was more concerned about, he has a blankie, like a blanket from when he was a baby that he still loves.

And that was what he was sad to have lost. Um, and I have in the basement, I have a couple of what I call memory boxes are just boxes filled with, you know, our memories that I've always said, oh, if we're in a fire, that that's what I'm going to grab.

We just didn't have that time. Yeah. Yeah. But thankfully our home is standing and then our stuff is still here. Yeah. Yeah. Cause the next day you got a picture of your home from another friend that went right. And you're like, whoa. It's. Yeah. And it's still standing so that, okay. What did that feel like to actually see a photo of your home from a friend who they went back in the next day when I don't even think she was allowed.

Yeah, it was crazy because, you know, there's this fire whipping winds and not even 12 hours later, there's a blizzard with, you know, eight, 10 inches of snow. I happened to run out of my home in flip-flops snow. Um, but yeah, so they, you know, cars still were not allowed in the burn area, but what people were doing where it's parking outside of the area and hiking through the snow back in, because they were so desperate to see or to know, cause there was no other way to confirm, yes, this neighbor friend hiked in and uh, took a picture of my home and shared it and let me know that everything was still standing nice.

Yeah. And that must have been felt like, ah, thank goodness. Right. I mean, yes there, but I can imagine that like, I mean, how does it feel to have your house standing when so many others are not?  It is hard. Um, I feel fortunate obviously that my house is standing, but also the houses around me are standing. I'm in a little bit of a bubble, you know? So when I'm in my home and I look out all of my windows, everyone around me is still standing. Our little area was, was safe.

Um, I think it's very hard for the people on the streets where three houses are burned down, two are standing, that, I think that's hard because when I'm in my home, again, I'm in a little bubble soon as we need to leave to go anywhere, we have to drive through burn areas, no matter kind of how we want to get out.

And then if it's harder, right. Then you see it and it, you actualize it when you first got back though, you still had no heat and you didn't have water either. Right. But you were still in that. Yup. Um, we still actually don't have potable water a month later. Oh wow. The water treatment facility burned. Okay. So what does that mean? So what do you have to do with your water now? Um, basically we have water, it's running water. We have hot water, but you're not to drink it. It's not being treated properly. Um, so we can bathe in it, you know, but you don't want to be swallowing it, drinking it, cooking with it, or anything like that.

Okay. Okay. So the water is still not there a month later, which is not convenient. Um, heat is back on, which is a good thing.

Right? Everything else is back. Yeah. Heat, electricity, internet, all of that is all of that was back relatively quickly. Um, you know, within, I would say four days, all of that was back, at least in, in our little pocket. And what about the air quality?  They can't even go back in because the air quality and their stuff are actually technically ruined, even though it's still standing.

Um, how, how’s that for you? Is it, I mean, it's still pretty safe to be in your neighborhood or it is where we are? So they're doing all sorts of, I think they're called purple testing, but these kinds of monitoring devices all around and um, you know, in again, in our little pocket, I think the way the wind was blowing the fact that the fire didn't blow this way, but it blew the other way.

Um, really helped us, you know, they, they do encourage, you know, you're not, there are certain places still in the neighborhoods, certain areas where they don't want you spending prolonged periods of time outside. Yeah. And I've heard some schools in certain areas or they're actually not doing very much outdoor recess even because of the air quality or they have to wear masks outside and that, and they are, um, so much Ash rain down everywhere that they have to go through these protocols of removing all of the mulch and dirt and sand from all of the playground areas and replacing it, I think as well before they'll feel like it's very safe.

So how is your neighborhood doing? How are your friends? I mean, these are your neighbors, this is your community. How is that changed? I mean, I think when, when these kinds of things happen, communities, band, you know, strong communities, band together and rise together and that's definitely happening, right?

You see so much help. So many people trying to support everybody else. There is a cause out there right now for everything to help people that are displaced and to help the people that lost their homes. And so that's amazing right. To see the community come together and then there's, you know, then there's the reality of, we have lots of friends that lost everything. Um, and that process is not going to be fun or, or fast. Um, I know I have a coworker who, um, I saw the other day and he had happened to of lost his home and he turned to him and he goes, here's my new clothes.

I like it. Cause that's like probably the only thing he had I think, you know, it was donated. I think he bought it, but it's just, you know,  you don't even know what to say.

Just like, oh, and then another person who didn't know him walks by and goes, oh, I love your shirt. And it just seems so sweet because it was like the only one that he had and probably just picked it up at one of those places that were donating. And so, yeah, it's just so much and I mean, and so much of your kid's school, you know, a lot of the kids were affected and displaced. How is school dealing with that and how does that affect your kid? Um, you know, school, Boulder valley kind of took a mentality of, it's important to have some sort of normalcy.

It's important to provide support to the students, the families, the community, a safe place for the kids. So as soon as it was safe for the schools to open up and, you know, any smoke was mitigated, they opened.

And I mean, I, I think it was good for my kids to go back. Um, it was good for them to see some of their friends that, that have lost everything, um, and feel that sense of normalcy school took a very slow approach with starting any sort of academics immediately after. So school was more of just a social place for kids for awhile. And I think that was good, but I think, you know, it's, it's hard when these things happen. Like the world keeps moving regardless and that's hard sometimes. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I can't even imagine.

I mean, my kids going back to school, they were definitely less effective than obviously your family. Um, but they still have kids that go there and, you know, don't have homes. I think the principal lost his home at my son's school. Um, they just seem so mentally burnt out, like, okay, we're in a pandemic now there's a fire.

Now some of our friends don't have homes. It's like, it's like, it was like, okay, too much, you know, just too much. I don't want to do schoolwork. I don't want to do this. You know, it just, yeah. It gets to a point that you're just kind of like, ah, enough. I, I completely agree. Um, I was talking to someone about this the other day. I feel like the kids, especially teenagers right now that generation is so desensitized to trauma. You know, they're raised in a generation of the school where school shootings are normalized or they've become kind of like, it just, they happen.

Um, you know, and then, like you said, COVID, and they've had to wear a mask for 20% or whatever, 15% of their lifetime. And, you know, then the fires hit and it's just, they're getting desensitized. In fact, I was driving with my teen daughter and again, we have to drive past the devastation to kind of get out of the neighborhood and I still get a little choked up and I still have a hard time seeing it.

And she was really just kind of like, yeah, whatever, you know, that does happen, you know? And I'm like, oh God, her generation, they've just had a lot of bad things happen. Yeah. You know, it's so true because I, you know, we don't have to drive through it like you do all the time, but we do drive through it because we have lots of things we use in those areas. Um, and yeah. And I'm always like, oh my God, like, you know, it's just some, some of those areas were just, there's nothing there. And it's, you know, you see that burnt car and, or the, you know, just remnants of like a wall of a house.

And it's just so devastating and yeah. And the same thing, you know, I think my daughter feels bad, but it's, it doesn't seem to hit them as much.

Like it just like it just another thing. Yeah. Yeah. That seems about right. That things happen. That's bad thing. Let's keep going. I know, but they are still mentally burnt. I mean, like, I still feel like they're there. I feel like the kids are full. They're just full completely. Yup. And, um, and I don't know, I think they're all handling it well on the outside, but I don't know. I mean, even my daughter felt very guilty, you know, cause our house was totally fine and, you know, and I think there was definitely a guilt factor for her when, you know, the next kids wasn't, you know, so I think they even felt guilty about that.

Um, you know, having more, you know, they both emptied out their closets and said, oh, I don't need to wear this. I don't need to wear that. And you know, donated all their clothes.

And my daughter did a bunch of GoFundMes on her own with her own money and then would ask me to help her for others. And um, but you know, you could see the generosity of like wanting to do something, not really sure what to do. All right. So now that you've been through this and, and you're still going through it, it sounds like you're still, it's still going on. Even though the initial shocks are gone, you're still dealing with certain things. Yeah. I feel like it's like, COVID right. And we're just where you get to a new normal and now we've just created a new normal with the fire because I mean, I'm going to be driving past, burned down houses or at least empty lots for a long, long time.

It's, you know, it's just going to become a new normal. Yeah, yeah. They're saying, I mean, it's going to be over two years probably to rebuild, right?

Yeah. Yeah. And that's definitely not, I mean, it's not a sunshiny place to see it. Definitely not. And I'm still like going, um, is that open or not open, like when I'm going to go get this, but I don't know. Yeah. Yes. I had that conversation about the pet smart. I don't know. Do you know, if it opened in the Costco shopping center? Is that PetSmart open yet? So now that you've kind of been through this, like looking at the situation, would you have done anything differently? Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I don't, I don't think so. I think everything for a reason and we are all safe and you know, that's the best outcome and, and, you know, we do have to have packed these just different situations, whether it's a fire, whatever, you know, emergency.

Right. What would you recommend has been prepared now that you really have? Cause I'll tell you when, when we left. So we're, you know, my husband, I love that man, but he is a runner, you know, like I left work. Um, I didn't know about the fires either. As soon as I heard someone talking about it, I left and there were plumes of smoke coming around the office and I was like, huh, this isn't good. And so I went home and told them about it and I showed them the picture that I had taken from my office.

And he's like, that's it where outta here, you know? And I'm like, okay. Um, and so, you know, when I thought to pack, all I could think was, okay, kids dogs now granted I have three dogs, so that's enough. Right. And then all I took was water and food.

Like that was like, I don't know. And even on the way out, I stopped at a Walgreens to get more food and, and important that was Oreos. And the only thing that I could think to pack. So I'm just saying from your experience, you know, what would you say to be more prepared? Because I don't think Oreo is when we got to our hotel that we stayed in the Oreos and it wasn't a good scenario. I have three dogs that have no food. I mean, it was not, not no, no thought there.

So, you know, the first time we ever got evacuated, when we did live up in mountains, that was a great learning lesson for us because we were not organized. We had never thought about it or anything. And that was the perfect learning lesson to get organized. But I think, you know, the, the most important is anything that's not replaceable.

Right? Memories, photos, things like that. Um, that's why I've learned to keep that all in kind of boxes together in the basement with the idea that I can grab them. Um, and then all the documentation, right. Of who you are, licenses, um, passport, social security cards, birth certificates, titles, registration, all that stuff. Deeds is super important. One thing that I did not grab, I grabbed my dog, which was great. And I wasn't, I didn't grab any food, which, whatever I figured out what I can buy food bar food.

I'll figure that out. She can eat a piece of bread, but she has medicine and I did not grab her medicine, our medicine and our dog bites without it. So, and then I think nowadays, especially just technology, like whether it's your iPad or a laptop, but there's some device that probably has the bulk of your memories on it.

You know, your photos, your important documents, your things like that. Yeah. And I think that's what I was thinking with like photos. I was like, oh, they're all on my phone. I mean, granted, I have photo albums, but I don't know if I care about them so much, but, um, but yeah, like a lot of that stuff, I'm like, everything's on my phone, but you're right. Like birth certificates and things like that. Um, you know, we do have one of those fireproof safes as well, which I was like so excited. I'm like, we don't have to worry. We've got a fireproof safe. And then my husband's like, yeah, last for 45 minutes or something.

I was like, sound like a long time at all. Everyone I know that had this virus. I shouldn't say everyone. A lot of people I know that have this fireproof safes, there's nothing left inside the safe really.

Okay. Well, see, that's good to know. That's what I was thinking. But he had a better, he did grab, I think he grabbed papers, you know, he's pretty good when it comes to that stuff. But, um, but that was, it papers me and my wife and food that was ready to go. So if you were hungry, not that we couldn't have bought that somewhere else, but yeah. Okay. So yeah. So that's no, that's good to know. That's good to know to have some of those things prepared, although you have yours all together. Most people, I feel like don't right. And I didn't the first time I've ever been evacuated.

Like I said, I did not have anything together papers or any of that. Now I do, I have this portable fireproof box. Right. That has all of our families documentation in it. Yeah. So how do you feel like you're going to be able to move forward from that?

You don't have a lot of choices, right? The world keeps moving and I think you move forward by trying to help and trying to find positive wherever you can. Um, right. I mean, the people that have lost so much, their attitudes are so great and everyone, you know, they're really trying to stay focused on helping the community and rebuilding and um, showing that support. But I don't, I don't know. I don't know that I have a good answer for that. Do you think most people are going to stay and rebuild or do you think people are, I mean, have they actually moved?

I mean, I know they have to find housing. They're obviously not staying in the neighborhood at this point. I've heard all over the place. I know two families that have completely left the state. Um, you know, and I had that thought, I'll be honest with you that night when I thought I honestly, a hundred percent thought, the only things I have left in this world are like physical wise are my car, my kids and my dog.

And what's on my back. It's sad. But at the same time, it's very liberating. I can go anywhere. I have nothing. Like I can go anywhere because I have nothing to bring. Right. Like there's nothing weighting you down. In some ways I was like, where you're free to go live wherever we want, do whatever we want. So yeah, that was, that was a fleeting moment. Yes. So we know a couple of families that have left. One went, um, to Georgia, to the Atlanta area. One went to another town in Colorado. Um, we know some people that are very committed to rebuilding and, and you know, they've had generation after generation in this neighborhood and they they're committed to it and they want to rebuild.

But as you said, that's going to be a two-year process. It's going to be a very expensive process for multiple reasons.

People were uninsured, unfortunately, because of the values of the homes here had, had gone up. And then unfortunately, fortunately, and unfortunately, um, they had, the town had just put into place. Some new building standards requiring like green code building, kind of clean, clean building. And as a result, you know, it's more expensive per square foot to rebuild. And so they are, even though all of these homes, aren't there, they're new construction, but they're not new because they're rebuilding old homes.

They're still mandating them as new construction and making them follow these new green protocols, which is great for the world and the environment, but very difficult on these people's wallet when they already are under-insured and now they have to rebuild at a much higher cost. Oh, wow. Yeah. So that is, so you've got your people who have left. You've got your people who are rebuilding because they have deep, most of them have deep roots or loyalty to the community.

And then you have people that are, there's already someone who's trying to sell their burnt lot. Right. Oh, wow. I wonder how that, I don't know what's going to happen with that. I don't even know if you're allowed to do that yet, but, um, you know, there are some people that are just kind of tossing in the towel and, and gonna go, just buy a house somewhere else. I'm sorry. You had to go through it, but I am really happy that your house is still standing and, and that your neighborhood, you know, at least your immediate bubble is still there. Oh. Um, all the other stuff around you is, is not.

So is there anything else you want to let people know? You know, it's amazing, honestly, it's amazing how people do come together when these things happen. Everything from the day of where, how quickly the fire and how many tens of thousands of people needed to get out of a very concentrated area very quickly when we were only really able to go one direction because the fire was all around on the other directions, it was amazing how well people did work together, right.

There could have been utter chaos. There could have been a tremendous loss of life because people weren't helping each other in those moments of actual chaos, you know, or I don't know if you saw the video from Costco, it's been pretty widely circulated where, you know, they kind of come in and say, fire, everyone needs to drop, drop what you're doing. And immediately exit the building. It was, it seemed like such a smooth I'm sure in the moment those people were panicked, but it seemed like such a smooth thing. And people just kind of put their stuff down and got out. It could have been utter chaos and there could have been looting and there could have been, you know, people pushing each other to get out.

And none of that happened. And I think the fact that everyone just worked together really helped save a tremendous amount of lives that I think 40,000 ish people were evacuated or displaced.

And I think the loss of life was two or three, you know? So yeah, it's, it's, it's sad, but it's, again, the amount of people that could have perished in the camaraderie that happened to get everyone out safely was that, yeah, it is amazing. It is amazing when these tragedies happen, how much goodness there is and people, and even, even now, I mean, we're still, there's, you know, community gatherings and we still get free meals and all the people that are displaced, there's a whole brigade called like the hotel helpers, where they have a list of all the hotels, all around the area that have people that are displaced.

And I think they have like 30 different hotels on it with hundreds of families and they bring them hot meals every day and they bring them treats every day and, you know, just, everyone's doing something to help, um, different places that are collecting clothes and different places that are collecting stuff for your pets.

And they've got dog walkers, that'll come to the hotel and just take your dogs out, you know, to give, to get the dogs out and walking and give you a break for a bit, just lots of helpers doing whatever they can. That's awesome. I mean, I even see like yoga for Marshall, you know, like just for relief. Yeah. So that's awesome. That's awesome. And I hope that continues since it is a long haul for all, everybody involved, everyone, even just the neighbor, even people who have, and that's a, that's a good point. Cause I know I personally, and I know a lot of friends felt, especially right after it happened and there was all these people helping and giving and donating and doing that.

I felt guilty taking, cause I, I have a house and I have my stuff. Um, but with it, you know, they kind of said, no, this is for everyone.

And anyone that's impacted in any sort of way, because there is some survivor's guilt that comes with it. There is some change to our lifestyle that comes with it. Yeah. But it was nice. It was nice to feel like it's for the whole community, not just, you know, everyone's impacted just all in different ways. Exactly, exactly. And I hope it gets better. I hope it gets better. Not just the fires, but the pandemic. I hope for our kids' sake that this, isn't their new normal. Do you know what I'm saying? Where the tragedies are common and they're ongoing and they keep coming.

 I can't wait for that boring year where they have nothing to do and, and they're bored. There's nothing going on. That is my wish for the new year. Um, this, this year is going to be awesome. I'm in it sounds good. Thank you. Um, but thank you so much for talking with me about your experience. I really appreciate you sharing it. Cause I know it was traumatic. It was traumatic. Yeah. This was, this was nice to do.

Thank you. Thanks for having me. Of course.

Thank you for listening to this week's episode and thank you region for sharing your story. Our hearts go out to all the lives that were affected by the Marshall fire. Please join us on our Facebook page, where we will continue to post ways to help those still in need. And don't forget to follow Real Life Momz.. So you don't miss an episode.





Rachel Matz

Mom to a teen, a tween and a dog.