Twenty days after some of the most destructive fires in California history, Governor Jerry Brown has declared “A day of remembrance” to honor the 42 lives lost.
People are still missing and many families pets were killed. Thousands of buildings including homes and business were destroyed.
The City of Santa Rosa was among the hardest hit cities, just North of the San Francisco bay. Sonoma and Napa counties were also devastated by the fires.
On Saturday, hundreds gathered at the Santa Rosa Junior College to reflect on the horrific events over the last several weeks.
The community joined together in song and prayer to show a sign of solidarity and beginning of the healing process.
“It was very important that we do get together and honor that,” said Luz Navarette, a long-time Sonoma County resident.
Navarette said many people sprang into action to offer help. Since her home wasn’t in an evacuation zone, she opened it to people who were forced to flee.
The community remembered the lives lost with a ceremonial ringing of a bell for each soul fallen and a single ding for those still missing.
More than 11,000 first responders aided in the response efforts in Northern California including firefighters from Australia. Firefighters, police, dispatchers, and other first responders were honored for their response efforts during the fires.