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Wildfires can cause mental health damage that smolders yeras after the flames go out

American Heart Association News | August 11, 2021

"Melissa Geissinger didn't believe she was in danger. But when the cat at the foot of her bed lifted its head to sniff the air, she felt her first stab of worry. She stepped outside her home in Santa Rosa, California, and there it was: the choking smell of smoke..."

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Escape from the fire: Out of the Fire, part 1 of 4

SF Chronicle | Oct 6, 2018

"Two couples survived, but lost almost everything as their neighborhood burned."

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A new, unhappy normal: Out of the Fire, part 2 of 4

SF Chronicle | Oct 6, 2018

"They escaped Coffey Park, but found anger, guilt and resignation in fire’s aftermath."

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Survivors once again: Out of the Fire, part 3 of 4

SF Chronicle | Oct 6, 2018

"They’d escaped the devastating Tubbs Fire. But other perils lay ahead."

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A place called home: Out of the Fire, part 4 of 4

SF Chronicle | Oct 6, 2018

"A year after the Tubbs Fire, displaced families can finally look ahead."

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Rebuild or rethink: Fire destruction offers opportunity in Santa Rosa

SF Chronicle | Oct 29, 2017

"With the flames that flattened Santa Rosa’s Coffey Park neighborhood extinguished and the cleanup plans well under way, what looms next is a tough question that has no easy or quick answer:

Will residents stay or sell?"

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Wildfire evacuees return to where they built their lives. Most find nothing

SF Chronicle | Oct 20, 2017

"It had been 11 days since they last saw their homes.

In the morning hush, residents presented their driver’s licenses to National Guardsmen posted outside the Coffey Park neighborhood of Santa Rosa. The uniformed sentries had turned them away every day for nearly two weeks. “Not yet,” they said. The search teams, the cadaver dogs, the utility crews were working."

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Podcasts

When the Fire Comes for Your Town

Fifth & Mission Podcast, San Francisco Chronicle | August 8, 2021

"It's happened again: A California community wiped out by flames. The Dixie Fire tore through the Gold Country town of Greenville last week even as neighborhoods in places like Santa Rosa, Redding and Paradise continue to rebuild after past catastrophes. What's it like to lose everything? Host Demian Bulwa talks to Margaret Elysia Garcia, who was evacuated from Greenville, and Melissa Geissinger, who lost her Santa Rosa home in the 2017 Tubbs Fire."

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Hiking My Feelings: Virtual Campfire #14: Kathryn Goetzke, Kyle Smith, Melissa Geissinger

She Explores | Episode 113 

"The Hiking My Feelings Virtual Campfire is our COVID-inspired attempt to recreate the conversations and energy we feel when we’re out in the backcountry, sitting around a campfire after a long day on the trail. We’re gathering with mental health experts, advocates + activists, registered (non) dietitians, outdoor enthusiasts from all walks of life, our favorite bands and artists, and members of the Hiking My Feelings Family to share stories of hope, healing, and inspiration."

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After the Wildfire

She Explores | Episode 113 

"Melissa Geissinger lost her house in the Tubbs fire of Northern California in October 2017. Two months later, she had her son Apollo, and life changed forever once again. We talk in the episode about the “old” Melissa and the “new” Melissa a year and a half after she and her husband were displaced by wildfire. Today she has her eyes set on hiking the length of the Oregon Coast and helping others cope with trauma by giving them a platform to share their stories."

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