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Paradise Camp Fire A Year On Skip to content
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One Year After California’s Deadliest Wildfire, Paradise is Rebounding

The Camp Fire nearly wiped Paradise, California, off the map last November. Of the 84 known fatalities, 78 were people who were more than 50 years old. Now the town is rebuilding, and people in their prime are leading the push. Meet five people who survived the massive fire and learn how the disaster changed their lives forever.

     

Firefighter fights a wildfire next to what's left of a house

Most Victims Were Older Americans

The average age of those killed was 72

     

     

portrait of jim knaver standing in his new yard

School Teacher Who Lost Family Returns Alone

Jim Knaver: "There's a reason I'm here right now."

     

Women with a green shirt sitting in a store

A Premonition Led Her to Prepare

Mary Rae Nieland's home and business survived

     

portrait of Maria Garcia in the kitchen of her restaurant

Restaurant Owner Rebuilds, One Meal at a Time

Maria Garcia's Mexican eatery feeds the locals and the laborers

     

portrait of claudia o reilly outdoors standing in the vacant lot that used to be her condominium home in paradise california

For Retired Nurse, There's No Going Back

Claudia O'Reilly begins anew

     

     

A row of abandon cars line the road after a wildfire

Lessons For All of Us From the Deadly Wildfire

Plan, prepare, practice — and don't wait to leave

     

the words in memorium are overlaid on a gold tinted image of the sun shining

   

Californians who died in the Camp Fire

Rose Farrell, 99

Ethel Riggs, 96

Vernice Regan, 95

Berniece Schmidt, 93

Dorothy Lee Herrera, 93

 Joanne Malarkey, 90

Shirlee Teays, 90

John Malarkey, 89

Forrest Rea, 89

Carol Arrington, 88

Julian Binstock, 88

Dorothy Lee Mack, 87

Donna Ware, 86

Louis Herrera, 86

Evva Holt, 85

Helen Pace, 84

Rafaela Andrade, 84

Jean Forsman, 83

James Kinner, 83

Teresa Ammons, 82

John Sedwick, 82 

Joan Tracy, 82

Evelyn Cline, 81

Elizabeth Gaal, 80

Larry Smith, 80

Herbert Alderman, 79

William Godbout, 79

Joyce Acheson, 78

John Digby, 78

Marie Wehe, 78

Carl Wiley, 77

Robert Duvall, 76

Frederick Christopher Salazar, 76

Cheryl Brown, 75

Joanne Caddy, 75

Sara Magnuson, 75

Ronald Schenk, 75

Richard Brown, 74

Robert Quinn, 74

Gerald Rodrigues, 74

Ellen Walker, 73,

Larry Brown, 72

Barbara Carlson, 72

Paul Ernest, 72

Joy Porter, 72

Phyllis Salazar, 72

TK Huff, 71

David Bradburd, 70

Paula Dodge, 70

Don Shores, 70

Sally Gamboa, 69

Chris Maltby, 69

David Young, 69

Warren Lessard, 68

Matilde Heffern, 68

Judith Sipher, 68

Isabel Webb, 68

Shirley Haley, 67

Anna "Toni" Hastings, 67

Gary Hunter, 67

Gordon Dise, 66

Randall Dodge, 66

David Marbury, 66

Victoria Taft, 66

Vincent Carota, 65

Deborah Morningstar, 65

Kathy Shores, 65

Beverly Powers, 64

Sheila Santos, 64

Ernest Foss Jr., 63

James Garner, 63

Russel Stewart, 63

Richard Garrett, 58

Dennis Hanko, 56

Lolene Rios, 56

Andrew Downer, 54

Jennifer Hayes, 53

Kimber Wehr, 53

Dennis Clark, 49

Jesus Fernandez, 48

Christina Heffern, 40

Joseph Rabetoy, 39

Andrew Burt, 36

Ishka Heffern, 20


Names provided by the Butte County Sheriff’s Office, which says an 85th victim has not been identified.