Close to home

The Camp Fire has hit close to home, both geographically and emotionally

In the last week, major fires have ravaged parts of Southern and Northern California. One in particular has hit close to home, both geographically and emotionally.

In a year during which California has already suffered catastrophic damage, the Camp Fire has been deemed one of the state’s worst ever. To date, the fire, which has blazed through swaths of Butte County, has destroyed nearly 7,000 structures—the majority of them homes. It has essentially leveled the town of Paradise, about 30 miles outside of Chico. Worse yet, it’s claimed more than 50 lives at last count, and many more remain missing.

It feels as though the Camp Fire has affected nearly everyone I know. We all have friends and family members caught in its path.

It’s affected the News & Review family, too. Many staffers at the Chico News & Review, SN&R’s sister paper, were forced to evacuate from their houses and two have lost their homes.

In this week’s issue, CN&R editor Melissa Daugherty documents the region’s ruin and chaos (see “Apocalypse on the Ridge,” page 8). The article, which gives detailed accounts of several evacuees, leaves one with a sense of hopelessness.

So, how to combat that despair? There are myriad ways, but right now money is the most effective ways to help. Numerous people have launched fundraising campaigns, including the News & Review, which has established a GoFundMe for its affected employees ( The Red Cross also has a dedicated page for California fire-related donations ( Or, if you prefer, the California Fire Foundation ( and the California Community Foundation’s Wildfire Relief Fund ( both directly offer financial assistance.

Help, if you can. Even a few dollars may have a lasting impact.