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'Hell on Earth'

Tevita Vuibau
Thursday, October 12, 2017

FIJIAN national in California, United States, Setaita Natai says people in areas where wildfires are blazing are living in a literal "Hell on Earth".

Ms Natai lives with Fijian flatmates in downtown Santa Rosa — the seat of Sonoma County, one of the areas where wildfires have burned in the past three days destroying thousands of homes and killing at least 17 people.

Describing the experience, Ms Natai said she would rather live through floods in Fiji than experience the wildfires again.

"I guess it's hell on Earth right now, scary and the floods back home is nothing compared to this. Fire and wildfire is worse. Right now, I am glad that our house and my house mates are well, and that I thank the Lord for," she said.

Ms Natai, who works as a caregiver, said she was looking after a patient when early morning calls to warn her of the fires came flooding through, causing her to wake up at 3am and pack provisions anticipating an emergency evacuation.

"In all this preparation, I totally forgot about my own flatmates, and our house in downtown Santa Rosa.

"I tried calling them one by one and eventually spoke to them about 9am on Monday morning (Tuesday Fiji Time).

"Our house in downtown Santa Rosa is right in the middle of the fire zone, and my flatmates were evacuated on Monday morning about one to two by police officers and neighbours pounding on the doors."

"They drove through seven miles of bush road to get to where they were going to stay and that was in Healsburg, couldn't go through the highway 101 North as it was a no go zone."

Ms Natai said her patient was located at Sabestapol, a 13 minutes drive from Santa Rosa.

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