Memories lost

Michael Barnes, Co-Features Editor

For residents of Coffey Park, the Tubbs Fire reduced lifelong memories to mounds of smouldering ash in a matter of hours. Second-year SRJC student Craig Lowry, 18, was among the residents sifting through rubble after the smoke cleared.

On a day when Lowry would normally be sitting in an air-conditioned classroom, he found himself laboring under a layer of dense, toxic smoke and shoveling the remnants of a friend’s home into a wheelbarrow to aid in the search for a fireproof safe. “This is something you don’t experience every lifetime,” he said.

When the flames initially approached the Coffey Park area, Lowry grabbed his laptop and a change of clothes and evacuated to Cotati. The destruction of the blaze transformed hundreds from college students, faculty and staff members to victims of a natural disaster. The ongoing fallout from the wildfires ravaging Sonoma County leaves more than 600 members of the SRJC community facing hazy and uncertain futures.

Some students are worried about how the school will respond to lost time during the semester while students like Lowry don’t have the luxury of such concerns. “I’m not even thinking about school right now. This is bigger than that, and it’s not over,” Lowry said.