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The Madera Tribune

Firefighters, refugees pack hotel

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webmaster | 08/23/12

REDDING — Tuesday night, as two tourists from Madera were walking back to their hotel room from the Woodside Grill, they looked at the moon and were surprised to see that it was red. The two agreed they had not seen a red moon before, at least none they could remember.

They guessed (rightly, it turned out) that the color of the moon was due to the air being full of smoke from nearby forest fires. Two big fires are burning east of this city, and are affecting everything, along with the color of the moon.

The two tourists had eaten at the Woodside Grill because it was attached to the Gaia Hotel, which is hidden in none-burning woods not far from Interstate 5. They had intended to stay elsewhere, but that first hotel was full of firefighters and there was no room at the inn. The Gaia was recommended.

The Maderans were glad it was. They found it to be clean, comfortable and quite spacious compared to some other places where they had stayed on their trip around the Northwest and along the Pacific Coast. It also was affordable, a characteristic the Maderans had not always found to be the case on their trip.

The Gaia also was playing host to firefighters and refugees from the fire. The refugees were forest land homeowners who had been told to leave because of the encroaching flames. People from Pacific Gas and Electric Co. also were staying at the Gaia, ready to prevent fallen wires from injuring firefighters and to restore service after the flames had their way with the mountainous forest.

Firefighters and others were guests in the Woodside Grill alongside the Maderans, as were six veterinarians who were there for a meeting and also to lend a hand if help was needed. Wild animals live in the woods, and often wind up injured when forests burn. The same is true of horses, cats and dogs. The Maderans were glad their cat stayed home, and the cat probably is, too.


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