By Barbara Wood, Red Cross volunteer
Muriel Harsh has lived in the Northern California community of Lake Shastina for nearly four decades, but only twice has the 95-year-old had to evacuate her home and move into a Red Cross shelter because of a wildfire – last year in July for the Lava Fire and this year for the Mill Fire.
On September 3, Muriel sat in a borrowed wheelchair, wrapped up in Red Cross blankets, and talked about her beloved home she hoped to soon return to.
“I’m anxious to go home,” she said, and was especially worried about her elderly cat she’d left behind with food and water because it was too old to travel.
Muriel said she has views of Mt. Shasta from windows in her home and until recently loved to get out and hike in the area.
Muriel’s son Sonny, who lives with her in Lake Shastina, said he got a warning that an evacuation was imminent on his cell phone on Friday soon after the fast-moving fire started. Not much later, a sheriff’s deputy knocked on their door and told them to go.
Sonny took a suitcase he had packed for a weekend visit with a friend, but Muriel left with only the clothes she was wearing. They spent one night in a motel before moving to the Red Cross shelter opened at the Karuk Wellness Center in Yreka. When they got there Red Cross nurses loaned Muriel a wheelchair to use.
Both said the Red Cross has been taking good care of them while the await word on the fate of their home.