Uplifting Messages Shared on Social Media During Calamitous Wildfires

Heartfelt posts show signs of resilience

A major swath of Northern California is burning under a reddened sky and blanket of smoke. It’s been a time of darkness – both literally and figuratively – for thousands for five anguished days.

Yet uplifting hashtags and heartfelt posts on social media from multiple hard-hit fire zones are sharing signs of resilience amid the devastation.

Marin County Parks took to Twitter to send Sonoma #LoveFromMarin. Officials posted an image of a poster that was taped to a pole and offered its own take on the proverb "blood is thicker than water." #SonomaProud, it signed off.

Another message on the Santa Rosa Police Department's Facebook page depicts an American flag against a charred background. The stars and stripes are the sole sources of color — and seemingly, hope — in a photograph of a burned tree and a house that has been reduced to smoldering rubble. 

Santa Rosa has been devastated by the Tubbs Fire, which leveled entire neighborhoods, including Coffey Park and Fountaingrove. 

In another post tagged #santarosastrong, the department wrote about one of its own — officer Samuelu Poueu — who, along with his family, "narrowly escaped" before flames consumed his Larkfield home early Monday. 

"They returned to the ash where their family home once stood with the hope to find any memento of their lives but it didn't look like anything survived," police wrote.

Turns out, something did: Poueu's police badge.

Poueu's best friend, fellow officer Mike Paetzold, discovered the damaged memento, police said.

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