California Wildfire Update

Recent updates fuel interest and concern for those affected by disaster.

Analise Hopper, Photojournalist

Since last year many people have been wondering what was the actual cause of the wild fire in Paradise California last November, and increased interest has been raised by some updates popping up around the internet. Sites like The New York Times have posted multiple articles, both before and after this tragic catastrophe.

The 2018 wildfires, including the Paradise Camp Fire, were some of the deadliest fires California has had and burned 142,000 acres in about a week. According to USA Today it states, “The number of acres burned grew more than 350 percent during the second day.” This single fire has demolished more structures than the 7 worst fires combined. One very large fire easily killed just about 81 people and burned more.

Now, even though the causes of these fires can be because of electricity leaks, or an uncontrolled camp fire, they are still caused by people who aren’t careful. People who might have looked away for one second can lead to 81 people unable to escape a giant blazing monster taking over their house by the second. Even simple things like when a cigarette butt is not put out properly. Something as small as that spark can become something bigger than a few people can stop. Every resident around that one spark in serious danger, who must abandon all they have made of a house and grab their loved ones to evacuate.

In these horrific experiences, help is all that can be done. Yorba Linda Friends Church sent a group of people to the area during the time the fire was being attempt to be taken out. These people went to talk to the residents and give a few necessities to help get by until shelter was found. Garrett Wolf, one of the Friends Church helpers, said, “I think the impact of our help was very minor in the scope of the large amount of devastation and loss. The people that we met, prayed for and gave gifts and offerings too were very thankful and felt very cared for. They were blown away that people from Southern California would be willing to come up and let them know that we have a church that is continually praying for them.” This statement on its own is very impactful and shows that not only were the people they helped out were impacted as well as the people who helped.

Wolf also explains how his experience was impactful for him. “It was a life changing experience. People lost everything within a matter of hours, there whole world was flipped upside down. Walking through paradise was very sad. It felt like we were in a war zone. Cars and houses were all burnt to the ground and it was just silent. It gave me such a different perspective on my life and how material things are by no way near the means to life. Everyone that we came in contact with was traumatized but they all had a certain hope and joy that I had never experienced,” he added.  Although this traumatizing experience was hard for many people, it also became an impactful event that helped open the eyes of so many people.