After a mass shooting and raging fires, hope for a respite in Thousand Oaks
Blackened hills surrounded the 101 freeway and encircled the city of Thousand Oaks on Monday morning, the first time since the shooting at Borderline Bar & Grill that the city approached anything resembling normalcy. The wind had stayed calm through the weekend, giving fire fighters the chance to make progress — officials said it was roughly 20 percent contained Monday morning, after burning through more than 91,000 acres. But the Santa Ana winds are expected to pick up again on Monday, which could easily mean more embers blowing through the canyons.
Several residents had stopped at a gas station in Calabasas on their way home, said Rashid Stevens, who said he saw cars packed to the brim come through early Monday morning.
“We’re all hoping it calms down here, finally,” he said. “They deserve that at least.”
A hearse navigates the blackened moonscape of Paradise
Inside the evacuation zone, Paradise is a blackened moonscape.
Abandoned homes line the road, lonely horses wag their tails. White smoke lays like a thick comforter above it all.
The fire had come from the east of Paradise, flattening some buildings but not others. Still standing was the Butte County Library. Gone was all of Old Town Plaza. On the main avenue, a tall, friendly-looking prop bear stood with a sign: Welcome to Bearadise. The buildings behind it were gone, now nothing but metal and ash.
On Wagstaff Road, the streets were a bramble of downed power lines, and the destruction was a sign of the fire’s capricious nature.
“Betsy,” read a small cardboard sign with an arrow pointing toward several homes. To the left of the Betsy arrow, fire had blasted through the home, leaving a blackened scaffold of bricks. To the right, the house sat so untouched that its yellow flowers stood tall in their pots, ready for their next watering.