The Camp Fire erupted in Paradise, California one year ago and displaced about 50,000 people. Many stayed in Butte County, but others moved away, in search of affordable places to live. Sunni Hutchison was evacuated last year and is now living in Twin Falls.
Boise State Public Radio spoke with Hutchison about what her last year has looked like.
The following is an edited transcript of her story:
I was born and raised in Paradise, California. I lived there until November 8, 2013, the day of the fire. My name is Sunni Hutchison. I’m 26.
Paradise was really all that its name implied. It was a community of the most loving, welcoming people. We had beautiful scenery. The trees — just, like, nothing compares to the forest that we grew up in.
After the fire, it was really difficult leaving town because there was a lot of traffic. And I didn't really know where to go, so I just called one of my friends that lived in Chico that was close. And I have since then relocated to two different states.
I had the opportunity to move to Ohio. I was very homesick all the time, and I wanted to be closer to home, but I didn't necessarily want to go back to California or to Paradise yet. So I packed up everything yet again, and drove back across the country. And I came down here to Twin Falls, and I just felt comfortable.
Here in Twin Falls, I find myself going to Shoshone Falls a lot. And that's something that I would have done back home, was drive to Lookout Point and sit and look over the canyon.
I have found that living away from Paradise has been harder than actually like being there and facing the ugly reality of the fire’s devastation. I definitely ran away from everything. I guess I didn't want to face that it was really gone. And now that I've had so much time away, I've come to realize that there really is no place like home.
Find reporter Rachel Cohen on Twitter @racheld_cohen
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