Breaking News
More () »

On the Ground: Butte County communities reflect on one year after the Camp Fire

Thousands of people honor the lives lost and the life that sustains in Paradise, Magalia, Concow and Chico, one year after the devastating Camp Fire.
Credit: KXTV
Paradise Strong rock sits on Chico City Manager's desk

CHICO, Calif. — One year after California's most destructive and deadly wildfire started and burned through several towns in Butte County, survivors remain to tell a harrowing story of the days that followed.

While many people have since moved, several still call Butte County home.

Throughout Paradise and Magalia, people are continuing to rebuild while taking time to remember those who lost their lives and show their gratitude for those who helped them during the fire.

RELATED: Auburn family makes urns for Camp Fire survivors and victims, free of charge

People like Ken Brow and David Kelman helped decorate Skyway Road, the main roadway in Paradise, to remember the 85 people who lost their lives to the fire.

Paradise opened the Building Resiliency Center, a place with resources for people who are both rebuilding and who might consider rebuilding in the town.

The center also currently serves as the home for the Key Project Tribute. Jessie Mercer sculpted a phoenix from the donated keys of homes that burned down in Paradise.

"I finished (the sculpture) last Saturday. I started two days after the fire,” Mercer said. "I have the keys to the deceased. I have keys to churches. I have keys to firemen. It’s overwhelming. My parents’ keys are on there.”

Mercer drove 19,000 miles to collect all the keys after putting collection jars in 13 different places across five different cities

During the unveiling ceremony on Friday morning, the Mayor of Paradise presented Mercer with a key to the city.

Daniel and Aaron Forschler, father and son chainsaw artists, went around Paradise to carve the burnt trees in town. Daniel Forschler said for every tree they carve they intend to plant two new trees in the spring.

"We cut about 2,000 trees, so we will plant 4,000 new trees," Aaron Forschler said.

One year later, there is still a strong sense of gratitude towards the first responders who helped keep the community safe during the Camp Fire. Roxanne Mulder carries around a photo that shows a structure that wasn't burned because of a firefighter's efforts to save it.

At 11:08 a.m., hundreds gathered for 85 seconds of silence to remember the people who lost their lives during the Camp Fire. 

As people walk through Paradise and Magalia, they may have come across a sign that was created by students at Gridley High School and Sycamore Middle School.


Download on the App StoreGet it on Google Play

Stay In the Know! Sign up now for ABC10's Daily Blend Newsletter


WATCH ALSO: Remembering, recovering and rebuilding one year after the Camp Fire

Before You Leave, Check This Out