Residents’ Social Media Shows Life During a Fast-Moving Wildfire

After a wildfire rolled down a hill and swallowed much of the town of Middletown, Calif., residents of the area, known for its farmlands and hot springs, remained under a state of emergency on Monday, reports The New York times.

The Valley fire, as it is being called, was only 5 percent contained after a weekend of evacuations, which sometimes came a moment’s notice. Officials said that they were investigating a report that a civilian had died.

On Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, residents offered a portrait of life in the midst of a fast-moving fire, one that abruptly disrupted daily life, destroyed homes and ruined a well-known local hot-springs resort.

The hot and cold pools of Harbin Hot Springs, nestled in a small valley near the vineyards of Napa, had acquired a devoted (and clothing-optional) following that had long sought to escape the drought-plagued heat. The site has served as a getaway and tourist attraction since the Civil War and has burned to the ground three times in its history.

Over the weekend, bathers were hastily evacuated as the fire grew closer. On Monday, the facility could not provide details of the damage, but one evacuee, Sid Cronin, wrote on Facebook that he had watched the fire churn up a hill and down into the valley that housed the retreat.

“I had waited all afternoon for the aerial attack,” he wrote, “for the army of fire trucks to roll up the canyon. It never happened. There was no battle to save Harbin.”

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