DENVER — As the fires in Napa Valley continue to burn without containment, people in Denver worry about family and friends in the area.
Chelsea Tipp lives in Denver but grew up in Napa Valley, and says dozens of friends and family members are in the process of evacuating, saying the fires are like nothing the area has ever seen.
While sitting outside her downtown Denver office, she checked in with her mother back home in St. Helena in the heart of Napa Valley.
“You’re not evacuating are you?” she asked her mom.
“Yes, we’re evacuating. We just pulled all of our stuff out of the house. They said to be ready to pack and go at any time so everybody is basically leaving because there’s basically only one way in and one way out pretty much,” Sue Tipp told her daughter from the car she used while driving out of town.
“It’s so smoky you can see the hills and very hard to breathe.”
Just beyond Tipp’s childhood home is a large vineyard. Both sit less than 10 miles from two separate fires burning in the area.
“I’m trying to be calm in a very, very scary situation,” Tipp said. She realizes there is little she can do from Denver, but she still worries.
“Those are fires that have wiped out part of the city already and so they have vacated those hospitals,” she said of the more than a dozen fires burning in the area.
Just south of where she grew up is Napa, where her brother and father live.
Tipp’s family is safe, but in a picture her dad texted Wednesday morning, danger lurks on the horizon.
“Power lines are down, neighborhoods are gone. I mean it’s just crazy,” Tipp said.
With a trip scheduled home next month, she’s trying to brace for all that will be different. But for now, she’s focused on the family and friends whose life could change with the wind.
“Some houses have already been burned to the ground, some people have died already and they are going to need help too,” Tipp said.
“And it’s not just a bunch of rich people who have their hobbies getting burned, but it’s people’s careers and wineries, and people’s livelihoods and family history that is all being burned to the ground.”
New evacuation orders are still being issued. No one in the area is out of the woods yet with winds expected to pick up Wednesday night and the fire at 0 percent containment.