Aerial cinematographer Douglas Thron captured a United States Postal Service worker making his rounds in Santa Rosa, California, a community utterly devastated by the recent wildfires in the United States.
With images comparable to an apocalyptic event, the Santa Rosa community has lost hundreds of homes and the devastation is total and widespread. This did not stop the US Postal Service from making its rounds and subsequently becoming the focus of an eerie, now-viral aerial video captured by Thron.
Thron told Mercury News, “I've covered wildfires and floods before and I've never seen anything like it. I'd see areas that were totally fine, but then get to Fountaingrove Inn and The Hilton and see them wiped out. It was unbelievable.”
Douglas Thron captured the mail truck as it wound through the Coffey Park neighborhood. The houses, nothing more than charred remains where homes once stood, still breath tendrils of smoke into the air as vividly demonstrated in the video.
The white postal truck drives up to the few extant boxes and delivers mail in one of the few scenes of everyday living left in the devastated community.
The drone video is among many images that have emerged in the aftermath of California’s wildfires, fires that have destroyed 3,500 homes and killed 26 people as of publication.
“It was a trippy thing—he was actually delivering the mail…I was shocked to see him because most of the roads were blocked-off, but he obviously had access,” Thron told Mercury News.
San Jose’s Mercury News reports that the mail is being delivered at the request of the recipients rather than being stored in a central location according to USPS San Francisco District Manager Noemi Luna, who tells NPR: “This is an example of the long-standing relationship that has been established between our carriers and their customers based on trust. The carrier in question was honoring a request by a few customers who were being let back in the fire zone to retrieve personal items. A few customers asked the carrier to leave their mail if the mailbox was still standing because they could not get to the annex to retrieve it.”
Many people think the United States Postal Service has a motto, the famous all-weather-conditions creed, but this is false according to Luna but is, nonetheless, a tribute to postal workers that such a myth exists.
NPR tells us the famous motto, “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds,” is a quote pulled from Greek writer Herodotus’ The Persian Wars.
This phrase adorns the granite edifice of the New York City Post Office on Eighth Avenue according to NPR – a likely source of its being the “motto” of the civil service.
California fire officials urge drone photographers not to fly over wildfire areas, telling the public that the fire department cannot do its job when drone planes are present.
At present California firefighters are battling 22 large fires. The fires that destroyed towns in California’s wine country, Napa, Sonoma and Mendocino counties, are now also posing a serious threat to adjacent towns, like Calistoga and Fairfield.
You can check out Douglas Thron's work on his website by clicking here.