Just two years after the Camp Fire took lives and leveled entire neighborhoods, the Bear Fire has some leaving town just in case and others looking for a way to help.
“It was November 8 all over again,” said Camp Fire survivor Melissa Schuster. “It was that eerie darkness.”
She said she woke up early Wednesday morning fearing fire may roar into the town of Paradise all over again.
“It brought back a lot of angst,” Schuster said.
Like so many folks in Paradise, Schuster lost her house to the Camp Fire in November of 2018. In fact she and her husband just submitted their rebuilding plans on Tuesday.
“I was ecstatic we’d submitted our plans and then the Bear Fire broke out,” she said.
Jessie Mercer, who lost her art studio and the home she grew up in to the Camp Fire, says instead of panicking, she sprung into action.
“That morning we woke up, was very similar, our skies filled with yellow glow and red. I just walked outside and started crying, not just the look but the feel. It just felt like a lot of fear in our community,” Mercer said.
She’s been delivering water and other needed supplies to evacuees. She says many in Paradise left town just to be safe.
“PTSD is a very real thing. I think a lot of people chose to leave. Too triggering, the sky, the smell,” Mercer said.
While the Bear Fire skipped over Paradise, it’s left a path of destruction in other parts of the county.
Camp Fire survivors say they’ll help in any way they can.
“We got you, we'll get through this,” said Schuster.