PARADISE (CBS13) — This week marks one year since the deadliest wildfire in California history.
The Camp Fire started November 8, 2018, consuming the town of Paradise and claiming 85 lives. The flames torched 153,000 acres and destroyed 18,000 structures.
On Monday, some of those who lived through the nightmare faced the firestorm again. Inside the Paradise Alliance Church, there was a form of healing happening Monday along with a documentary viewing.
The film, “Inside The Megafire,” looks back at the ruins of Paradise and what may have helped it go up in flames. Former network journalist turned filmmaker, Miles O’Brien, detailed what it was like to go through this devastating fire and what he says really fueled it.
“We found ourselves in the middle of the Camp Fire, I’ve covered a lot of wildfires in my career there was nothing like this,” O’Brien said. “It’s not just climate change, it’s how we manage our forest, how we’ve been putting out fires. It has a lot to do with people moving into the forest.”
More than 11,000 homes were lost in the deadly inferno, approximately 90% of the total homes. A year later, some people have moved back in. The deputy city clerk said in 2010, Paradise had just over 26,000 residents. Now that number is down to just 3,500, based on the number of houses, RVs and mobile homes.
George Gold is one of the few remaining and a resident playing a role in the documentary. He did it out of respect for so many lives lost and the property now gone.
“I lost everything except my two cars, two computers, one pair of Levi’s, one pair of shoes, and one pair of underwear,” Gold said. “It’s so hard for me to watch. I’m probably going to be sitting outside during the film.”
Not all the answers are in this documentary, in fact, some say a lot was left out. But the people living every day in Paradise say what happened to them is an individual horror that each and everyone will never forget.