Pedro Oliveira's picture

Thomas Vs Thomas

For the past week or so, I've been traveling throughout California, working in a volunteering/ self-assignment job, in Ojai Valley.
During three miserably hot days-- always over 100F-- I met and interviewed residents of Ojai, a city that was hit by the Thomas Fire, December, last year, and currently faces a very dry season/drought again.
Ojai, located about two and a half hours south of Los Angeles has been facing a fierce drought for the past few years. Their main reservoir, reached its all-time low level, operating at only 33% of it's a capacity.
Tom, is a farmer who lives in Ojai for his whole life. His apricot farm was one of the hundreds of properties that succumbed to the raging of Thomas fire.
Tom, saw not only his farm burn down to ashes, but also, something equally special for him: his collection of military trucks. " The firefighters even came around when the fire started, but they were too busy saving other people's houses. We did have a tractor that could help to save the trucks, but my brother was too, helping other farms in worse conditions than mine," Tom remembers with a sorrow in his voice.
After the fighter, and with the dry season, Tom's apricots farm has never grown the same, and this year He has struggled with the farm's productivity. "I work as an actor in LA to help with the home expenses now, since the farm's production, my main source of income, has not produced almost anything this year.
Sadly, Tom's farm is only one among many facing the same issue.

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