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Shout Out to the Pridmore Family – Community Heroes in the Fire of 2017

We love Lake Berryessa and not just the lake, but also horseback riding and wine tasting… camping and relaxing too. We love it so much that my children (city kids) learned how to fish, ride, get dirty, walk in a creek and catch frogs here, and then they weren’t city kids anymore! With 30 years of great memories, we watched in horror on TV as the inferno of Northern California fires in Sonoma, Santa Rosa, Napa – the fires of 2017 swept down the canyons, wiping out homes, livestock, and taking a few lives – because the fire moved so fast people couldn’t get away. It was shocking, so much devastation and life lost.  BUT it would have been much worse on Hwy 128 …. except the Pridmore Family stayed to fight.

As we drove up to see if our special places, horses, and trailers had survived, we were quite sure that nothing was left. Power lines were down, hills burnt black, trees toppled and charred, ghostly white dust where trees had been but the fire was so hot, only dust remained, and barricades on the highway – their un-burned metal laying on the ground with no wooden supports.

So much was burned, the whole area smelled like one big BBQ. My chest tightened and with tears in my eyes, we drove past burned trees, eerie silence, nothing green, hot piles of logs…. but further in we saw houses – SAVED -and Barns – SAVED- and when we reached the Ranch, a flock of Turkeys scared up onto the road. The horses had been trailered out, and the wildlife had escaped.  I couldn’t believe it. The firefighters had picked their battles and the Ranch was saved, the fire had consumed some trailers, coming within 10 feet of our old Airstream! Our special places were good, still there.

Nature will restore and new shoots, after only a few weeks the deer have come back. It is astonishing, that so much is OK.  We are so very grateful. Maybe daffodil hill will bloom? If not, I will plant some more.

So thank-you to ALL the Firefighters and especially to a family that is a big part of this valley – who wouldn’t give up and managed to save it.


Excerpt from an Article: “Pridmore Family has Deep Roots in Berryessa area

JENNIFER HUFFMAN, Register Business Writer 

Since moving to Lake Berryessa in the 1920s, the Pridmore family has managed to survive in this economically challenged area by running a diverse set of businesses, including real estate development, construction, and storage.

“We’ve had to adapt to our environment,” said Gil Pridmore, who still lives with his family on the original acreage near the intersection of highways 121 and 128.

As the family grew, the Pridmores realized they’d need to do more than just ranching. Gil Pridmore’s father began helping build resorts in the area, including Steele Park and the Oak Shores recreation area. The Pridmore’s also helped construct parts of the Berryessa Highlands development.

In addition to working as general contractors, Gil Pridmore and his brother Darryl are also certified erosion control consultants.

Pridmore Construction operates it’s own materials yard, selling gravel, rock and other construction products to locals. They employ more than 25 people, mostly local, said Pridmore.

The Pridmore’s also run a storage rental business for boats, RVs and other dry storage. At one point they owned a gas station/service center as well.

Volunteer fire chief Pridmore recently joined the fledgling Lake Berryessa Chamber of Commerce.

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