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October 20th 1991 — Sunday morning — blue sky and dry air suddenly turned to burning orange light, hot sun overhead broken by waves of furious, swirling hot winds loaded with flames. By late afternoon terrifying images of Fire burned into the memories of those who live in Northern California. This wildland-urban interface fire, the worst fire in California history and the most destructive in American history at the time, killed 25 people, injured 150 others, charred 1600 acres and caused 1.5 billion dollars in damage. This story of an historic Yelland house and the heroic battle to save it from complete destruction stands alone among the stories of the firestorm of 1991.

Margaretta K. Mitchell, author and photographer, has created a visual documentary of the firestorm disaster, aftermath and recovery, as a 20th anniversary commemoration. Through stunning fire footage and compelling still images of the devastated house made ruin, she draws us into the disaster and then renewal through fascinating images of the restoration. Woven throughout is the music of composer John Adams. What was a sad, consuming and overwhelming process ultimately became creative and fulfilling.

Thank you… This project would not have been realized without the expertise and assistance of many individuals and organizations, and they are listed in the DVD booklet.

Tax-deductible donations to help cover production costs are welcome! The purchase price for a DVD is $25.00. Tax-deductible donations of $50.00 or more are highly appreciated (and will receive two copies of the film). You may contribute by doing one of the following:

  1. Please make checks payable to The Institute for Historical Study (fiscal agent). Mail to: 280 Hillcrest Road, Berkeley CA 94705; for those donating $50.00 or more, a tax-deductible confirmation will be mailed to you.
  2. Use the donation link in the right column of this page to make an online payment through PayPal; for those donating $50.00 or more, a tax-deductible confirmation will be emailed to you.
  3. Order directly from Margaretta Mitchell by using the email link below the PayPal link.

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