video by Guillermo Mash
by Leslie Layton
Like thousands of Californians, Los Angeles filmmaker Nirvan Mullick spent early November following wildfire news and worrying about friends and family who were in harm’s way.
Then, two developments forced him to think in a larger context: President Donald Trump visited Paradise and advised Californians to rake their forest floors, and Sen. Bernie Sanders announced a national town hall on climate change. The Washington, D.C., town hall would feature well-known experts and activists – climate change stars, so to speak.
by Denise Minor
The sky was growing dark by the time I checked in at the Red Cross station on a recent afternoon, in front of the Silver Dollar Fairgrounds in Chico. Two volunteers in red vests greeted me and welcomed me to the shelter for Camp Fire evacuees.
Red Cross Communications Director Stephen Walsh offered to show me around. On that night there were about 700 people staying at the shelter, with some living in their recreational vehicles in the parking lot, some living in a tent city behind the RVs and some living in the three dormitories. All six of the Red Cross shelters that had been opened right after the fire had by then been consolidated to this one.
by Leslie Layton
My childhood home is a pool of ashes contained by a cement foundation. The air in this once-Edenesque place smells almost acrid. The barn my father built from oak planks is a pile of rubble, with trickling aluminum melted into place on the ground.
At some point during the Nov. 8 Camp Fire that destroyed my hometown of Paradise, Calif., the white aluminum streams were trickling downhill as if headed toward the creek. No longer. There are almost no signs of movement on this still Sunday, Dec. 9. My former neighborhood feels like a cemetery.
by Leslie Layton
2.3 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s how much – or how little, depending on your viewpoint – that the daily average temperature increased in recent years in the Paradise area.
That little temperature increase is what it took to create the environment for a deadly fire that would stun Butte County with its heat and swiftness, demolish almost 18,800 structures, kill 88 people and change the lives of almost every area resident.
Sure, there were other factors that contributed to the devastating character of what is now considered California’s deadliest fire. There was, for example, an increase in the number of sweltering days in recent years, reflecting our longer summers and shorter winters. Warmer nights, too, helped parch vegetation, making the Camp Fire unusually hot and explosive.
by Allan Stellar
That awful, awful day.
On that awful day, when Paradise was engulfed in flames, I hugged my yellow lab Angel goodbye. I woke up early, 5 a.m., and decided to leave for work without our normal early morning hike. I lived in the foothills, at 2,000 feet, some 37 miles from Chico where I had work to do as a home health RN.
I had lived in this off-grid solar house for a decade, enjoying the yip yap of coyotes in the country and sleeping on the deck under the stars on hot summer nights. Angel watched me dress that morning with an eerie gaze. It was as if she knew something was going to happen. As I left, I promised I would be back in the afternoon to take her for a hike.