Camp Fire Brings Pain and Empathy From Shasta County

Carr Fire survivors face new experience as PTSD sets after Camp Fire.

Posted: Nov 21, 2018 9:59 AM

When the Camp Fire ripped through Paradise and Magalia it sent a wave a pain and empathy to the Shasta County community.
But it also brought a new experience many had not realized a form of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

"We felt this hope of we are done. And we're beyond it but then the Camp Fire happened, and all of a sudden it brings you back to that day on July 26 and July 27th,” said Julie Kaplan who lost her home in the fire.

That day, the day the Carr Fire exploded is still carved into Kaplan's mind.

Now, more than three months later, the unexpected happened a fire much more destructive, much more relentless, and more deadly.

The Camp Fire raced through Paradise, Magalia, and other parts of Butte County, the smoke filling the air in Redding, bringing back fearful memories.

"In my brain every time I smell a whiff of smoke I’m thinking where are my children what will I grab I’m afraid to go out of town because what if something happens while I’m gone," said Kaplan.

This anxiety and fear only grew stronger for Carr Fire survivors as the devastation from this latest fire spread.

Counselors in the North State say they started getting calls and quickly determined our region was suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorders.

"It’s almost like a tangible reminder even for people who had been doing ok. This can be something that really brings up intrusive memories, intrusive dreams replaying things in their minds because it’s reminding them of a loss of control that they had," said Josh Ascherman a marriage and family therapist.

Ascherman says this fire is especially difficult because of its proximity.

There are friends, family, and memories that the Shasta County community can connect back to Butte County.

But he says there are techniques that can help you get through this.

"You can do a number of different things you can talk to somebody try to process through it because what you want to avoid is isolation," said Ascherman.

And now that these comities are doing.

Coming together to help one another.

But for Kaplan she says, every day she keeps fighting, pulling everything she has in her to be there for her family, and tend to the plants that are left on the property.

And as she begins to rebuilds, she says what she has learned during this tough time is to keep hope.

"For those that feel that there is no hope I would send my thoughts and prayers to them that they get lifted by their community that they get lifted by their loved ones and the little kind perfect little gestures from a stranger gives them hope," said Kaplan.

To reach Josh Ascherman you can reach him at chicocounselor.com, 

for more information on PTSD and treatments click here. 

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Hi: 64° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 54°
It was a bright and breezy Friday for northern California, however the wind has been much stronger over Modoc County where a High Wind Warning is in effect through this evening. Stronger wind and cooler air will define our weather Saturday.
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