PARADISE (CBS13) – Maureen “Mo” Clark is proud to be from Paradise.
“I lived in my home that was destroyed for 23 years,” Clark said.
It’s a home she built with her late husband and watched it go up in flames in mere seconds.
“That fire went so fast. It was like an entity, it wasn’t a fire, it was alive,” Clark said.
Swipe through photos from the devastating Camp Fire.
Six months later and there is not much that’s left of Clark’s neighborhood. Despite all the work that still needs to be done there, she has hopes to return home one day.
“I come from a really close family,” she said. “I have brothers and sisters, and my mom, and we all lived in Paradise. We all lost our homes, seven homes in all.”
The water in Paradise is toxic, and the process to rebuild is slow.
“My retirement was all planned out, I had a place to retire for the rest of my life, and now I’m on an adventure,” said Clark.
That adventure has kept her jumping from motels to shelters, almost 15 times. Now, she’s living in Bidwell Canyon State Park. It is just 1 of 4 trailer parks FEMA is setting up to help Camp Fire survivors. They can stay there for up to 18 months.
“When I saw this, I was in heaven,” Clark said standing next to her new home.
She’s joined in Lake Orville by almost 70 other survivors. Despite the challenges ahead, most of them are determined to rebuild back in Paradise.
Aaron Wright with California State Parks in Orville is in charge of policing the 167 miles of shoreline. He said, “The whole “Butte Strong” concept I think is really everywhere.”
He’s no stranger to Paradise.
“Everybody in this community can relate to each other. We all have our stories from the day of the event,” Wright said.
It’s become a year-round job for his department. They will respond to emergencies, rebuild, and help people like Clark get back on her feet.
“It’s been a lot to go through,” Clark said.
His team is staying in Paradise and will support the rebuilding process.
“I love this place, I love this community, and I don’t plan to go anywhere,” Wright said.
And he’s hopeful his new neighbors on Lake Orville will too.
“You know you have your home, and where it was, and the people that were there. It’s all very, very important to me, and it’s important to return.”
With most of the population gone, the local economy is suffering. The mayor says according to a recent poll, only 51% of fire victims plan to move back.