Camp Fire survivors, their supporters and #Climate Uprising film crew endure snow and cold to make their point

Not even cold and snowy weather could stop Camp Fire survivors, their families, supporters and the #Climate Uprising film crew from making their point: Climate change is real, it’s happening now, we don’t want this to happen to anyone else and we need to rise up and speak out now against the forces that continue to deny these realities.

About 200 hundred people gathered amidst piles of toxic ash, twisted metal and hundreds of dead trees for a group photo that will commemorate what took place on November 8th, 2018, in Paradise, Butte Creek Canyon, Magalia, Concow and Yankee Point, California – the deadly Camp Fire.

Here are my photo highlights of the event.

Group photo.

These children lost their home in the Camp Fire.

Nirvan Mullick, co-founder of #Climate Uprising and film director.

Some of the #Climate Uprising film crew.

 

Vocalist Susan Dobra and singer/song writer, John-Michael Sun became iconic symbols of what climate change is doing to the Earth and its inhabitants when #Climate Uprising filmed John-Michael singing and playing his guitar in the middle of their burned out home.

John-Michael Sun, photo by #Climate Uprising, taken soon after the fire. You can hear John-Michael sing his song, “I’m a refugee and I wanna go home” on the #Climate Uprising FB page.

 

Mary Kay Benson of Chico 350 asked the crowd to sign their Declaration of Climate Emergency (DCE) that will come up before the Chico City Council in the near future. Go to their FB page to endorse the DCE and for more information.

 

“Kale,” one of the event’s participants.

 

Ashley Turner grew up in Paradise.

 

Professor Mark Stemen, chairman of the ad hoc Sustainability Task Force, will ask the Chico City Council to form a permanent city commission on climate change at the Feb. 19th city council meeting. He asked everyone to attend the council meeting.

 

After the group photo participants were asked to lie down on the road to spell out the words “#Climate Uprising” while drones photographed them from overhead.

I was cold lying on the wet road, until I saw the clouds drift across a wide blue sky, and in that beauty I forgot my discomfort.  In the very midst of tragedy, beauty will somehow prevail. .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Climate change causes worst fire in California history, 85 die, thousands left homeless. Part One

The Fire This Time
by Karen Laslo

It was 7:00 A.M., November 8th, 2018, when I awoke to the sight of a darkening cloud, tinged with pink and yellow, covering the whole southern sky and moving rapidly towards me. A strange light illuminated the tops of my neighbors’ trees. In my sleepy morning confusion I thought, “It’s going to rain.” But there hadn’t been any forecast of rain for the entire week. In fact, the drought had increased, bringing unseasonably warm and dry weather. Then confusion turned to fear – fire!

The morning the “Camp Fire” started, November 8th, 2018

In the few minutes it took for me to realize what was happening, the morning light had darkened to evening and then to night. In the next few hours, the “Camp Fire” had reduced the town of Paradise and sections of Butte Creek Canyon, Concow and Magalia to a pile of toxic ash, leaving thousands of people homeless, some barely escaping with nothing but their lives. I was later to learn that 85 people are known to have died in the fierce hurricane-like fire.

Morning turned to night.

 

A former home in Paradise.

In the weeks that followed, the people of Chico witnessed the shock and despair of the Camp Fire survivors. We volunteered at shelters, food and clothing distribution sites, and put in long hours at the FEMA headquarters in the old Sears building. We worked to reunite survivors with their pets and fretted over what might have happened to the wildlife that had no escape from the smoke and flames. We adjusted to the dramatic increase in traffic and the long lines at the local pharmacy and post office. And we made a place in our neighborhoods for the sudden influx of travel trailers and RV’s as shelters for those who’d lost their homes.

Spontaneous Walmart evacuation center.

 

Walmart parking lot.

 

Wildlife couldn’t escape the toxic smoke.

 

Trailers donated by Ken Grossman for fire refugees.

 

Shelters for fire refugees appear in Chico neighborhoods.

 

Downtown Chico Post Office.

Those of us in Chico, who hadn’t lost homes to the fire could barely comprehend what it might be like to lose everything within the span of a few hours. All about us, refugees from the burnt mountain lay scattered among us like leaves blown on a dry wind.

Ashes on Dogwood leaf, Chico.

And through it all, the suffocating, toxic smoke invaded our lungs, leaving us isolated indoors. And it was then that the Synergism women’s chorus decided to not cancel their concert at First Baptist Church on Palmetto Avenue but rather to bring their message of hope and understanding to whomever might have need. And when the hour for the concert arrived, the church sanctuary was filled with those among us who felt the need to be together with our townspeople where our sadness and loss could find common expression. And so we listened to the sweet women’s voices that drew us together as one body and brought tears to our eyes and healing to our hearts and minds.

Photo courtesy of Synergism: Women Together For Beauty