Eerie Drone Footage Shows Postal Worker Deliver Mail in Wildfire-Destroyed Neighborhood

One of the most surreal—and strangely uplifting—things you’ll see this year.

byKyle Cheromcha|
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We were pretty shocked when we saw that first-person video of a Sonoma County sheriff's deputy driving through one of the raging wildfires in California this week as emergency crews work to get people out of the path of the inferno. But this drone footage following a dedicated U.S. Post Office employee delivering mail in a completely burned-out neighborhood in Santa Rosa is one of the most striking things we've seen in a long time.

The Postal Service gets a lot of knocks over their outdated technology and occasionally-questionable customer service, but the sight of this little Grumman LLV puttering through the apocalyptic remains of the city's Coffey Park neighborhood is both bizarre and uplifting all at once. At least a thousand homes in Santa Rosa went up in flames earlier this week, which means thousands of people have had their lives completely upended and worldly possessions destroyed.

But just as "neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds," it looks like wildfires can't stop the mail either. While many residents haven't had a chance to return to what's left of their homes yet, seeing mail in their mailboxes will probably bring at least a fleeting sense of normality. Even in a neighborhood that's been reduced to rubble, life still goes on.

Why the deliveries, you might be wondering? According to the San Jose Mercury News, some residents contacted the local post office and asked for mail to be left at their properties if their mailboxes were still standing so they could retrieve the items whenever they're let back in by fire crews. Also, with nearly every recognizable landmark incinerated, props to the mailman for being able to recognize which house was which. 

The footage was shot by professional drone pilot Douglas Thron, who told the San Jose Mercury News the scale of the damage was "unbelievable," adding "I’ve never seen anything like it."