No major respiratory or mental distress found
Nearly one month ago, LARC Ranch residents watched as flames whipped up on all sides of their community, located north of Santa Clarita on Bouquet Canyon Road. It was during the Buckweed fire when the ranch got perhaps one of the biggest scares in its history.
LARC ranch is home to one hundred and two mentally challenged residents. At first, the community was not evacuated because of its size, and for a sleepless night the residents and staff watched flames destroy everything around them. Two of their buildings fell victim to the flames as well.
Fire crews were able to protect the rest of the ranch through the night thanks in large part to the proper grooming of brush around the property. The residents, however, had to be evacuated.
Afterwards, concerns came up about what effect the fires had on the residents, both physically and mentally. Smoke inhalation would be the most pressing concern, so LARC Ranch officials sought the advice of medical professionals. “We talked to our doctors about what signs to look for if anyone was in respiratory distress…and we’ve been watching them,” said Kathy Sturkey, the Executive Director of LARC Ranch.
But only one person, Sturkey herself, was found to be suffering from respiratory problems associated with the fires.
As for the mental toll the experience had on residents, Sturkey says that they’re doing very well. “They had such a pure faith that the firemen would protect them”, she said. That trust contributed greatly to the resident’s ability to stay relatively calm.
But just to be sure, the residents were sat down and talked to openly about the incident. “We had a large meeting with them, and smaller meetings as well,” Sturkey commented.
However, while the residents seem to have made it out of the fires okay, there is still concern lingering over their future safety. The fires decimated the surface of the mountains that surround LARC Ranch, and erosion control has become a top priority. At this point, the mountains will not be able to retain water in a rainstorm like they normally would. Mudslides and flooding damages are a possibility, so LARC Ranch is working with several public agencies to put precautions in place.