- Posted May 7, 2009 by
Santa Barbara, California
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Wildfires blazing near you
A Family Holds On For Hope. Again.
FULL STORY UPDATE: 5/7/09 2:30p.m.
Lisa Camarillo and her daughter Brianna lost their home in the Tea Fire of last year. The house had been passed down in the family for 5 generations, and was built by their great uncle in 1941. The house next door is owned by Lisa’s mother, and was just barley spared by the fire. However, the family owns a small landscaping company, and tragically, all equipment and necessities for their livelihood were destroyed in the fire.
In April of this year, Community Environmental Council member Lindsey Taggert along with Ian Cronshaw and John Heffner of Allen and Associates (a local construction company) banned together to find a deserving family that had lost everything in the Tea fire. Lisa Camarillo and her family were a perfect match.
During the Earth Day festival in Santa Barbara, construction on the house began. Various companies all over the Santa Barbara area donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to rebuilt what Lisa and her family had lost. During this time, filmmaker Tracy Trotter along with Gavin White and I documented the construction and transport of the house from Alameda Park to Coyote Canyon. However, after everyones hard work and tremendous efforts, Lisa and her daughters new home is once again threatened by wildfire.
The Jesusita fire started on May 5th around 1:45p.m. Since then, it has made it’s way South, destroying dozens of homes and forcing thousands to evacuate. Sitting on their new front porch, Lisa and her family look on as the fire approaches the very thing they had just recently lost. As the winds pick up, we can only pray that they have a turn of fate.
UPDATE: 5/7/09 7:30P.M.
I would like to reiterate the fact that this is not a family that has the means to pack up their lives and move. The land has been passed down for 5 generations, and their family history has remained in Santa Barbara since the 1930's. Also, wildfires are NOT COMMON in the Santa Barbara area. Until the past few years, they were a very rare occurance. The past few fires (Tea, Zaca and Gap Fire) were all started by humans. So for those who believe that fires just start in this area for no reason, your assumptions are rediculous. The home I live in is directly in the path of the fire, and that area has not been threatened by wildfire since the 1940's. If people were more responsible, this family would still be comfortable in the home that has been in the family for decades. Furthermore, this story is proof that not everyone in the Santa Barbara/Montecito area live in mansions and are millionaires. Regardless of the situation, losing everything you own is a traumatic experience no matter your social class. Linda and her family are good people that deserve better, and people like Tracy Trotter, Lindsey Taggert, Allen and Associates and EVERYONE that donated their time and money are proof that there are good people out there that are willing to help those in need. The Santa Barbara community is one of the strongest in the state, and we will continue to help those in need.
After packing my life into a mid-sized SUV and evacuating my house off of Foothill Rd., the full effects of the Jesusita fire hit me. The fire is growing closer and closer to the house where my girlfriend and I, our two cats and two dogs reside.
As the winds picked up, I was put on assignment to document a project that I had picked up last month. As part of Earth Week, multiple companies came together to completely rebuild a house for a family that lost everything in the Tea Fire of last year. Upon completion, the house was moved up Coyote Canyon, and placed neatly on the plot of land in which the families house once stood.
Tracy Trotter (the director of the documentary), Gavin White and myself filmed the construction, interior design and the actual moving of the house itself. It was an amazing feat, especially considering it was all done within a weeks time. Even more amazing is the community of Santa Barbara for coming together and helping a family that lost something so dear to them, their home.
Now that the Jesusita fire has made it's way up Mission Canyon, the family is once again threatened. It made my stomach churn watching the flames make their way toward something everyone had worked so hard to achieve. And for the family that had already lost so much, to have to face it all again would be devastating.