Paradise Lost… Entire California Town Burns in Wildfire That’s Claimed 85 Lives So Far

There was a top-40 single in 1972 by Albert Hammond that included this lyric: “It never rains in California.” Maybe some of you folks remember it like I do.

Over the last couple of decades, many people in California have certainly wished it would rain in their state. But it seldom does.

The barren dryness is one of the reasons wildfires there have been so horrific the past few years. Including the one that basically wiped out an entire city in California recently.

It’s Paradise, and it’s located north of Sacramento in the Sierra Nevada foothills. The town was scorched on November 8 by the Camp Fire. Other neighboring towns were also hit by the raging flames.

Over 20,000 Displaced

The Camp Fire has killed 85 people as of this writing. And burned 153,336 acres. That makes it the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in California history.

Authorities said the number of fatalities is likely to rise. There are still hundreds of people missing, including many elderly.

Over 20,000 people have been displaced. Some of them have been living in tents, trailers, parking lots and shelters the past two weeks.

In addition, nearly 14,000 homes and more than 500 businesses have been destroyed. Not to mention thousands of barns, sheds, garages and other structures.

Rain Helped… and Hurt

A moment ago I mentioned rain. Paradise received several inches of rain before and after Thanksgiving.

But that’s a double-edged sword. The moisture helped douse the ongoing fire and reduced the potential of more fires in the area in the near future.

But it also may have washed away any evidence of those who may have been left behind by the fires. As well as causing ash flows and mudslides. It has also been an problem for those living in tents, as the scorched earth was not able to soak up much of the rain.

In addition, plumes of smoke continue to drift through northern California. This makes breathing difficult for everyone. Especially those with heart or lung disease, children and the elderly.

‘Don’t Die. Run.’

As always happens, some incredible stories have emerged from the devastation.

A nurse in Paradise, Nichole Jolly, told CNN about her miraculous escape. Surrounded by flames while in her car, she called her husband. She told him she was going to die.

His response was, “Don’t die. Run. If you’re going to die, die fighting. You have to run.”

So, she did. She could barely see due to the ash and embers. But she somehow found a fire truck and banged on the doors.

They let her in. But they told her that without air support, they wouldn’t be able to make it out of the area. Just then a bulldozer arrived and cleared a path for the truck.

Not Even Safe in a Car

Some Paradise residents grabbed a few belongings and jumped in their cars. But then found themselves in gridlock.

Whitney Vaughn and her husband were two of those people. “We barely stayed ahead of (the fire),” she said.

“And multiple times, as we followed the flow of cars, we thought the fire was going to kill us.”

It took them more than three hours to escape due to the traffic. Others abandoned their vehicles, carrying screaming and crying children as they ran.

Selfless First Responders

Some of the people who suffered the worst losses of personal property were first responders.

Instead of racing home to grab what they could before their homes were burned, they helped others evacuate.

The Camp Fire left dozens of firefighters, sheriff’s deputies and police officers homeless and heartbroken.

One resident told a reporter, “I’m homeless at 82 years of age, and that makes it hard.” Another said, “How can God take a town away that’s called Paradise?”

Did Any Good Come Out of This?

Here at 4Patriots, we were able to step up and help some of these unfortunate people. With the help of people like you supporting us, we donated an entire year’s worth of our 4Patriots Survival Food to local agencies for distribution to those most in need.

Among the groups we contributed to are the Food Share Regional Food Bank of Ventura County. And the Community Action Agency of Butte County.

I hope this really sinks in with you as you’re reading this. Some of what you spent on our items are responsible for feeding people whose homes were destroyed by this fire.

You should be very proud of that. And the same goes for future items you might get from us. A portion is going to go to help people affected by the next disaster. And for that we are forever thankful.

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