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California Fires Live Updates: State Now Fighting 625 Active Fires

Chelsea Sterrett and her husband, both high school teachers, were in the midst of their first week of online instruction when they were ordered to evacuate, as the River Fire, south of Salinas, approached last week.

So they packed up their three children (ages 7, 5 and 1) and a dog, and left home to stay with family friends whom they hadn’t seen in months because of the pandemic.

“The immediate crisis of the fire was bigger than our concerns about Covid,” Ms. Sterrett wrote.

Kevin Susco wrote in an email late last week that his daughter-in-law asked on Tuesday if she and her son, who were under an evacuation warning in Boulder Creek, could stay with him and his wife in Palo Alto.

Their son, he said, is an Army Reservist currently in Kuwait.

“We’ve been together only briefly since the pandemic, because my wife and I are both in our sixties, and we take the threat from the virus seriously,” he wrote in an email. “But we didn’t think about it too much before we said, sure, come over if you need to evacuate.”

Deborah Meltzer, 67, said in an email that she’s one of a growing number of baby boomers who are live-in caregivers to aging parents — in her case, her 100-year-old father.

She lives in Elk Grove, where smoke has filled the air and the dangers, both from the fires and the poor air, are constantly on her mind.

“Quite frankly, I am not sure what I would do or where I would take my dad in the event of an evacuation,” she said.

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