PARADISE, Calif. (NewsNation Now) — The rural town of Paradise in northern California was virtually wiped out by a wildfire less than three years ago. Now, residents are nervously watching the Dixie Fire — a blaze that is burning just 10 miles away.
Paradise experienced the deadliest wildfire in U.S. history. The so-called Camp Fire back in 2018 killed 85 people. To this day, many more are still trying to rebuild.
As the Dixie Fire burns just miles away from Paradise, the town’s mayor says it’s bringing back terrible memories for the community, but there’s also hope.
“There are 1,018 firefighters on the scene fighting it. A lot of air tankers, a lot of hand crews trying to get into this terrain to get hoses around it,” said Mayor Steve Crowder. “There’s a lot of PTSD here from what happened to us a little over two and a half years ago,” he added.
Butte County volunteer fire captain Ray Johnson’s family lost their home and rebuilt it in the same spot. Now he’s facing another fire.
“Every time you see a north wind when it’s really hot out, it’s unnerving,” Johnson said.” Just like when a hurricane is in Florida, you have to prepare.
Crowder says the town has rebuilt more than 1,000 homes since the Camp Fire and has another 2,000 permits in the works.
“I think we’re making great progress from where we were. The one thing that I think we’ve learned from this fire is that defensible space is critical to any community to help them avoid what we’re going through. And that’s my biggest thing,” said Crowder.
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