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Posted on: November 8, 2019

One year later, 'Camp Fire' memories and lessons feel fresh

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South Lake Tahoe, CA- It’s been one year since the deadliest fire in California history. The Camp Fire burned thousands of homes and claimed 85 lives in its path. As we remember those who lost their lives one year later, we are also grateful for the brave men and women who fought hard to save as many lives and homes as possible.

“We got there and the town of Paradise was gone,” said Cpt. Tyler Jack who has been with South Lake Tahoe Fire Rescue for years. “We train for it. We’re prepared for it on a much smaller scale than I really knew before I went to the Camp Fire.”

He worked the Angora Fire, his parents lost their home, but the Camp Fire was different.

“We got there late afternoon early evening and went right into intense firefighting for the next 12 hours,” said Jack.

He shot hours of footage as he and other firefighters and first responders worked hard to save homes and lives. He says it’s impossible to prepare for a fire that leaves nothing behind.

“These other fires it was fire rolls through, destroys a good portion of the town and then you put the fire out and go home,” said Jack. “Well, for the Camp Fire, it was 4 or 5 days of firefighting and then we totally switched gears into body recoveries for the next 6, 7 days.”

One year later he says lessons from the Camp Fire are still with him.

“Going to the Camp Fire was a rude awakening that we have a lot of work to do here,” Jack said.

On this grim anniversary, his thoughts are with those who are still grappling with all they’ve lost.

“I can only imagine the community down there,” said Jack, “What their year has been like. My heart goes out to them.”

The fire in Paradise forced a lot of communities, South Lake Tahoe included, to reevaluate their fire preparedness. For details on our updated evacuation plans, and how you can prepare for any kind of emergency, click here.

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