The Thomas Fire burned the tiny enclave of Ojala, just north of Ojai, on December 6, 2017, destroying the homes and orchards of more than a dozen people who lived there. (See video of the aftermath here and more pictures below.)
Ojala has been home to three generations of the Auric Family since the 1970s. It was my Ojai home, and Anna, Robert, Mathew, and Cory, and Mathew's 8-year-old daughter were my neighbors and my family. Although Mathew and Cory stayed into the night trying to fight the fire, it moved through the canyon too quickly and they were forced to flee.
Even if you only have a dollar to give, together as a community we can make a difference.
Right now the Auric Family needs money for cleanup efforts, and to help restore the beauty of this unique place. Because of Ojala's rural location, the fire insurance available is very limited. It is expected to cover just a fraction of what it would cost to rebuild, and the claim will likely take many months, if not years, to process. The immediate needs are funds to: rent a Bobcat to start removing rubble; replace tools that were lost and are needed for cleanup; replace the standpipe and reconnect the springwater to the water system; bring in an arborist to assess the trees and remove those that won't survive; and hire a bulldozer to stabilize the hillside to protect the property from mudslides before it rains. The list of things to be done seems endless right now, but these will the first steps toward resurrecting Ojala.
"Ojala" means hopefully, or may it be so. We are hopeful that with your help we can rebuild this magical place.
This is Ojala how we remember it, and how we hope it will be again:
Thank you for all your love and support.
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- Mia Goldman
- Thomas Kuracina
Organizer and beneficiary
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