California Burning, Svenska Dagbladet
In November 2018 California burned at both ends, in Northern California’s Butte County the Camp Fire killed at least 86 people and became the deadliest fire in state history. In the south in Los Angeles and Ventura counties the Woolsey Fire scorched more than 96,000 acres and killed at least three people.
Swedish daily newspaper, Svenska Dagbladet sent me and reporter Sandra Johansson to tell the stories of those affected in Los Angeles by the Woolsey Fire. We met people whose whole lives were destroyed like Antonio Castro, who lived and worked in Malibu for more than 20 years with his wife at Malibu Riding and Tennis Club. The two lived on the property with their son and are unsure of the what the future holds.
The fire was so sporadic that some homes were saved like the Sumner family, who evacuated from their home in Point Dume in ten minutes with their three children. They mourned their home after seeing their street being burned down on social media only later to find out it was one of the few saved. Finally, we spent time with Melody Riggs who retired in Seminole Springs Mobilehome Park and lost everything during the fire. She has a long road of building back her life but remains grateful that she was able to evacuate and has family supporting her.
This is the start of these families making sense of what happened and trying to rebuild their lives.