By Samantha Sharf | Forbes
From his front porch in the hills of Santa Rosa, California, Richard Hicks can see majestic pines, rolling green slopes—and a bunch of unfinished houses. The 72-year-old retiree lost his home to the 2017 Tubbs Fire and moved into a new one built in its place in November. Some of his neighbors who suffered the same fate began rebuilding before him, but he was the first to return. One is still waiting for construction to start. Another lives in a shed put up by Habitat for Humanity.
“I wasn’t going to rebuild,” recalls Hicks, a lifelong Californian who’s owned the property since 1980. “At my age I should be traveling and fishing rather than going through the time commitment and stress and hundreds of decisions you have to make. But I kind of backed into it.”