From Fighting Fires to Evacuating — The Week in Photos

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A firefighter battles a blaze at a home on Pleasants Valley Rd outside of Vacaville on August 19. (Beth LaBerge/KQED)

A series of wildfires sparked by lightning has spread rapidly across wide stretches of Northern California. Over 70,000 people have been forced to evacuate. These are just some of the many images and moments from the past week.

Firefighters work to get a blaze under control in Vacaville on August 19, 2020. (Beth LaBerge/KQED)
A horse trailer burns on Pleasants Valley Rd outside of Vacaville on August 19, 2020. (Beth LaBerge/KQED)
Vehicles burned by the LNU Lightning Complex sit off Pleasants Valley Road near Vacaville on Aug. 19, 2020. (Beth LaBerge/KQED)
The Boulder Creek Fire Department on Thursday, Aug. 20, 2020. (Beth LaBerge/KQED)
Noel Allen and Frankie Brenchley-Allen, owners of The Treehouse Cafe in Boulder Creek on Thursday, Aug. 20, 2020. They have been feeding Boulder Creek Fire Department staff since the cafe closed on Tuesday. Noel is staying behind with the cafe. (Beth LaBerge/KQED)

“This is the worst that I’ve ever seen. I knew that someday it would happen," Noel Allen said of the fires. Allen owns The Treehouse Cafe in Boulder Creek with Frankie Brenchley-Allen. They have been working to support and feed the fire department in any way possible. "The whole ridge — Bonny Doon got hit really bad,” he said, "you just try to support the community.”

Closed shops in Boulder Creek on Highway 9 on the morning of August 20. (Beth LaBerge/KQED)
A traffic stop in Downtown Boulder Creek on August 20. No one is allowed past the stop sign, but people were still evacuating. (Beth LaBerge/KQED)
Tyrone Clark works to protect the Boulder Creek American Gas station from the CZU Lightning Complex Fire in Boulder Creek on Thursday Aug. 20. (Beth LaBerge/KQED)
The Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds evacuation site on Aug. 20. (Beth LaBerge/KQED)
Luke Piland, from Boulder Creek, taking a break from volunteering to set up cots at the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds evacuation center on Aug. 20. (Beth LaBerge/KQED)

“I didn't take it very seriously,” Luke Piland said of the evacuation orders in Boulder Creek. "Instead of packing like I should have, I was at Safeway in Scott's Valley, handing out water to other evacuees.”

“That was a mistake,” he said in retrospect, “we’re gonna keep our fingers crossed that we can go home, and if not we’ll rebuild.”

Bill and Sharon Fisk with their dog at a campsite on Thursday, Aug 20 at the Santa Cruz Country Fairgrounds evacuation center. (Beth LaBerge/KQED)

“We left at 7:30 a.m. I’ll be honest with you, it was really hard. There’s only so much you can pack in a car,” said Sharon Fisk.

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Now that she's at the evacuation fairgrounds she said “everyone really goes out of their way to help — but it’s just really hard when you are not in your home.” Keeping cats in the tent is not that easy, she said.

Aurora Gordon, daughter of Sharon Fisk, holds a photo of herself and her mother taken about 20 years ago. Aurora’s husband grabbed the photo before they evacuated. (Beth LaBerge/KQED)
Elizabeth Earnest, 90, inside of her tent at the evacuation center. (Beth LaBerge/KQED)
The Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds evacuation site on Aug. 20. (Beth LaBerge/KQED)