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French Gulch evacuees turn a natural disaster into an opportunity to help

Carr Fire

After facing two damaging wildfires within the last two weeks, several French Gulch community members said they're still scared, but trying to do good for others impacted by the Carr Fire evacuations, instead of focusing on their own concerns.

We spoke with some of those residents on Wednesday.

What was once a majestic forest, lining Highway 299 from Whiskeytown to Weaverville, is now pure destruction.

"It's terrifying. You know you're frightened a little bit because you don't know if you're going to come back to your house and the town is going to be different," said Hines.

Huge plumes of smoke hang in the air, as desperate residents hold tight at shelters and hotels waiting to go home.

French Gulch resident Raquel Hines said these disasters put life into perspective.

"Save what ever is...most important to you. That you can put in your truck or in your car," said Hines.

Several evacuees gathered at the Weaverville Elementary School evacuation center to get in contact with others in their small community.

Families displaced since Monday, made due with the few possessions they could grab as evacuations were ordered.

Hines said she was forced to evacuate with very little time.

"Us, we live three miles away from town. We had two hours to evacuate," said Hines.

But, she still managed to save some neighbor's pets.

"They had no way to get their dogs and even their hamster," said Hines.

She said others had as little as thirty minutes to evacuate.

Meanwhile, Cheryl Palmer, another French Gulch resident, has turned her disaster into an opportunity to help others.

"I went to CVS, they had four t-shirts for ten dollars. So, I got two packs of them and then at the thrift store I got stuff for one lady here that doesn't have anything and I guessed her size," said Palmer.

She also helped reunite a husky dog with it's owner and loaned a stranger her car to help him out of an emergency situation.

Despite what both women have been through, they both expressed a deep faith in their tight knit French Gulch community and hope the flames don't get any closer to their homes.

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Trinity and Shasta Counties help evacuees save pets:

To help combat the Carr fire, Shasta and Trinity counties say they are working together to rescue animals left behind in the flames.

Christine Edwards from the Trinity County Animal Control said they're doing everything they can to rescue pets.

She said it doesn't matter what kind of animal it is, they'll rescue it, even livestock. Edwards said they still have room for more animals.

Cheryl Palmer is one of the French Gulch evacuees seeking shelter in Weaverville.

She said she had to leave her miniature donkey behind on Monday, to get to safety.

Now, Palmer's hoping one of the animal control organizations will help rescue her beloved donkey, Jasmine.

"My neighbor has been taking care of her and my chickens and ducks and watering my garden. But we've lost contact with him. Her harness and stuff is on the hay box, so if anyone can get her just in case," said Palmer.

Edwards also said If you are part of an evacuated community or if you think you left a pet behind, please let the animal control centers know what happened.

She said they know how to properly contain scared animals and are specially trained to get your pet to safety.

She also said the Trinity County Animal Shelter and Animal Hospital, as well as Shasta County Shelters, will take your pet and are willing to work with people who are concerned about finances.


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