Round Valley Proud: Covelo Resident Lauds Neighbors for Helping Fight Recent Fire

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Photo of the Covelo Fire by Jared Williams

To the Editor,

So, there I was last Sunday afternoon, in bed with the most debilitating back injury I have ever had, the result of my refusal to acknowledge that I am no longer twenty-one years old, and sick to boot, when I decided to get up for some water because it was at least ninety-five degrees outside.

I looked out my window to see a cloud of smoke in the distance. That looks about half a mile away, I thought to myself. Great. But there were already CalFire choppers in the air. It looked to be under control. Ten minutes later I checked again and the smoke had cleared so I forgot about it and went back to laying in bed and feeling sorry for myself.

But then a short time later I heard shouting. I got up and saw smoke in the open field next door. I stumbled into some shorts and went to the front door, which was just then being opened by a woman I didn’t know shouting ‘Fire! Get out of here!’

So, out to my yard, where a handful of people I’ve never seen before were dragging hoses and yelling to each other. They asked me if I had water. I ran to the trusty garden hoses and started spraying down the fence line, which was starting to burn.

Back and forth, back and forth. A tree was going up. Tall grass on the other side of the fence was going up. Spot fires in the yard started popping up. People were putting them out with their boots and shovels.

Then I looked up and out of the yard. The houses across the street next to the open field were fully aflame. There was no going back. They couldn’t be saved. It was absolutely unreal and yet I didn’t feel afraid. I have no idea why not. My back felt great. Back and forth, back and forth.

Eventually my family came home from running errands. Ya took over and I ran around checking the perimeter of our property for more spot fires. There’s an old barn on it next to an old chicken coop next to another old barn on the neighbor’s property. Tinder boxes under trees.

The chicken coop wanted to burn so we put that out and tried to keep those old barns wet in the summer heat. We went to our neighbor’s house and put a sprinkler on the roof. We tried to keep fuel from going up in their yard. Volunteers and neighbors were all over the place. So were several fire agencies.

Inches. Inches and a wind that had been wildly indecisive deciding to blow away from us for just a few precious minutes. Inches and a well placed bucket of water from a CalFire chopper. Inches and the help of our community. I kid you not. Inches.

How do I say thank you to all of you? I have no idea. Thank you. There is a part of me that knows I would’ve been relieved to have all my possessions erased from the planet. I probably could have grabbed the handful of things I would’ve cried over.

But I have a son and he wouldn’t have taken well to my explanation regarding material ‘things’. He would have been devastated and sad. Books! Bicycle! Toys!

So… thank you. Thank you a thousand times. People say some pretty negative things about Covelo and the divisions that do exist in our community. But there were people of every stripe in my yard trying to save our home. So to all those who decide to perpetuate those divisions with their negativity, you have been once again proven wrong. I’m feeling Round Valley proud tonight.

When I think of the people who lost their houses and homes, I cannot imagine their world right now. Luckily, we have some things to give to the the little boy who did lose his home. Luckily we can donate money to help them begin to recover.

Thank you, Round Valley. Thank you, Covelo.
Gabriel Ferreira



  • Love this well-written letter. I can feel the adrenaline and emotion as Gabriel describes. It makes me feel Round Valley proud. This is what we do in this life…help others when they really need it.

  • amimissingsomething

    Heartwarming …You live in a beautiful place surrounded by a group of beautiful people willing to help a complete stranger. Thank you to all those good people for helping out when it was needed…Heartwarming!

  • Suzy Christensen

    I am very proud of our little town for pulling together, I wish I would of went to help fight the fires. I did make food for those that needed it, in the after mass. I feel for those that lost everything as my house burnt down when I was in the 3 rd grade out in Talmage.

  • When everything is on the line it makes us realize how petty our differences really are. We should live our lives accordingly. Kudos to those who made the effort to save lives and property.

  • Definitely feeling Roind Valley proud now. I was a few blocks from here when it happened and so i HAD to go and help, no matter what my schedule was.

  • Sorry for just barging in I used to have a room in your house and saw all the kids toys not knowing who was living in it now I had good memories in that home as well as my concern for the children possibly inside. I was driving by on my dads motorcycle and we just couldn’t let the fires continue to spread before calfire got there. It did make me round valley proud to be standing side by side with every variation of color fighting to save our town

  • Suzy Christensen

    Serena you did great!!

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