Their Facebook profiles still read “lives in Paradise”, but Tamara and Seth Roberts know that their house had been destroyed in the Camp Fire, which has burned 130,000 acres in Butte County.
Tamara was one of many who had to abandon her car and run for her life to escape the flames on the Skyway, the main road that runs through Paradise. She ditched the vehicle by Chin Dynasty, a Chinese restaurant on Skyway, and was able to jump in her son-in-law’s truck farther up the road.
A few days later, Tamara and Seth were watching the news when they saw the car Tamara had to leave in the background. It was not burned.
But for the Roberts, other questions remained. They didn’t know whether Tamara’s mother’s house, which was next door to theirs, was still standing. They also didn’t know whether their cat, Mochi, survived. She was left behind because the Roberts were unable to find her before they had to evacuate.
The Roberts are just two of the thousands of residents whose homes have been destroyed. At least 48 people have been killed as of Tuesday and more than 200 remain missing in what is now the worst fire in California’s history.
This is the first dispatch of what will be several from the Peninsula Press Reporter Ashlyn Rollins, who is from Chico. She will be reporting in the coming weeks on the Camp Fire and its aftermath.
Ashlyn Rolllins graduated summa cum laude from Corban University with a B.S. in political science. Her passions include advocating for vulnerable populations including the elderly and those living in poverty. After her semester studying communications, marketing, migration and free speech and interning in Washington, D.C., she served as editor-in-chief for her school’s newspaper, The Hilltop. In this role, she gave students a platform to share their “me too” experiences and sought to relate national news and campus news. During her senior year, she wrote her thesis on malnutrition in nursing homes and presented it at a national undergraduate research conference. Ashlyn is excited to use the data and storytelling skills she learns at Stanford to write affective stories about major political issues.