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A firefighter is covered in smoke as he monitors a wildfire along a fire road Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2017, near Boulder Creek , Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Since the deadly and devastating Tubbs and Redwood Valley fires broke out in distant parts of his district late Oct. 8, Assemblyman Jim Wood has been scurrying from meeting to briefing, viewing damage, consoling people who’ve lost homes and family members, and directing them to where they can seek help.

Now, the Healdsburg Democrat begins the grim task of identifying some of his constituents killed in those fires.

In addition to representing the residents of the Second Assembly District, which reaches from northern Santa Rosa to the Oregon border, Wood is a forensic odontologist, a special type of dentist who examines the teeth and dental records of those whose bodies are unrecognizable.

Helping Northern California sheriffs’ departments with human identifications is a job Wood has been performing for 20 years. He works with five Northern California counties, including Mendocino and Sonoma, where more than 30 people died in the fires.

Psychologists say it's important for people to recognize the effects of grief and trauma after a disaster like the Tubbs Fire and the other North Bay Fires. There is help for people in crisis at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds.

Despite his experience, Wood expects it to be an emotionally challenging task.

Read more. 

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