Remember the survivors and victims of the Camp Fire

Three years ago today, perhaps the worst day in the history of Butte County occurred. Early in the morning of Nov. 8, 2018, the Camp Fire started in the Feather River Canyon and burned 153,336 acres.

The fire decimated almost all of Paradise, Concow, parts of Magalia and Butte Creek Canyon.

The fire killed 85 people and injured 17 more.

Here we are three years ago to the day and all of the areas struck by the fire are still recovering.

Many of the folks who lost their homes and belongings from the Camp Fire have relocated or rebuilt. Some on their original property, some on another parcel in the area, some in other parts of Butte County, and some in other areas of the state or in another state altogether. While this resettlement has occurred, the emotional scars and loss of belongings persist.

It has been a hard road for these people. Life is not back to normal in many, many cases. So it is important to reach out to affected friends and find ways to support them. Sometimes, just a simple phone call to say hello can be important, especially on the three-year anniversary of this devastating event. Many of those affected and who are a part of the class action litigation are still awaiting word on their settlement. A large number still await receipt of any compensation, let alone an idea of what their full settlement figure will be. While understandable, given the length of time class action lawsuits often take, this is just another continuing source of discomfort and an impediment to any real closure. In other words, while the Camp Fire itself is history, the aftermath is not.

The Paradise and upper ridge communities are struggling to rebuild. Construction of new homes continues and new businesses are popping up, so progress is being made. It might be a good gesture for folks in Chico and other areas to visit Paradise, perhaps enjoy the soon to open skating rink, buy a box of candy at Joy Lyn’s, or find a local restaurant to enjoy a bite to eat. Supporting ridge businesses is a great way to let people know they have not been forgotten.

Today is not just a day to remember who we lost that day and the impact on the community, but to remember the survivors.

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