PARADISE, Calif. – Peaking through the whisper of the wind on this sun-kissed, country property are reminders of a heartbreaking past.
Nearly a year and a half after the Camp Fire leveled the town of Paradise, the community continues to meet devastation with resilience.
For Paradise resident Isaac Garroute, the hardest part has been making peace with his new reality.
“Tired of camping out in the RV but you know, you gotta do what you can to stay strong,” Garroute said.
Even with all the basics up and running from his mobile home, things are far from comfortable now that COVID-19 has taken hold.
“It’s a strange world up here, it’s a whole new world,” Garroute said. “I used to have a lot of friends and family here but as you can see, there’s nobody left around here anymore.”
The wave of isolation – met with growing frustration – a few miles up the road at Catalana "Cat" De Tro’s property, she struggles to find essential products.
“You can’t get toilet paper, you can’t get wipes, you can’t get any of your essentials, which was hard enough to get because there’s nothing up here due to the fire,” De Tro said.
But adapting – is what this single mother says her hardy hometown knows how to do. So in the face of a pandemic, she finds calm in the simple things.
“This apple tree is one thing that did survive the fire on the property,” De Tro said as she points off to the tree.
A reminder of strength and perhaps, the best medicine for a community still healing from old wounds.