One month after Klamathon, Hornbrook still waits to rebuild

HORNBROOK, Calif.– The Klamathon Fire may be long gone but the scars it has left on the Hornbrook community are clear. Homes turned to ash, cars burnt and blistered, and blackened landscapes remind the town of the fire’s devastation.

“The whole thing has seemed like it’s been your whole lifetime,” said Dolores Callahan, a Hornbrook resident. “But it’s actually only been a month and a half.”

As quick and destructive as the fire was, the rebuilding of Hornbrook has been nearly the opposite. Residences that were burned down are still being tested by the state for hazards such as asbestos and drinking water is yet to be available for those still living on city water. All of this still happening six weeks after the fire was put out.

With everything going on, it’s a constant reminder of all that happened in July.

“I don’t even know. They’re just gone,” said Callahan, looking at all of the burnt down structures. “The houses are junk and the black is there and the people just gone and I don’t even know where they are.”

In the weeks after the fire cleared, residents whose houses still stand are trying to return to a sense of normalcy.

“Well people are still scared,” said Pastor David Perham. “They’re hurting. They’re unsure of what’s going to happen.”

Pastor Perham of the Hornbrook Community Bible Church says they’ve been been trying to support residents as best they can.

“Two, two and a half weeks we used the church as a, basically, a grocery store,” he said. “We set up tables, we had a lot of perishables, non-perishables, water, clothing that we were just distributing for free.”

But what Pastor Perham says is really needed now, more than anything else, is water. Currently the church has been the designated spot for water donations. Perham says last week there were eight pallets of bottled water that he then later distributed to community members across town.

On Monday, there was nothing left.

Pat Kagy a resident of Yreka who came up to donate clothes was surprised to learn about the community’s need for water.

“Not sure about that because I didn’t know but I’ll tell everybody I can,” she said.

While residents continue to wait for water to be restored, the community has stuck together through it all. Callahan says that many of the elderly, including her husband and herself, have received help from many others in the community.

“People have been very concerned and very kind to ask is there anything we need?” she said.

But not everyone has been lucky enough to stay. Some of the people who lost there homes have moved out and are left waiting to come back to Hornbrook – their home.

“You just really ache for the people that lost everything,” said Callahan. “It’s just sad for them.”

The Hornbrook Community Bible Church will be accepting water donations until the water has been restored to the town. If you would like to donate, the church is located at 430 Henley Hornbrook Rd.

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