Noah Berger / AP Photo

Dr. James Pennebaker has spent years studying how people cope with trauma, both as individuals and as part of a community. He’s a professor at the University of Texas at Austin and is author of the book Writing To Heal: A Guided Journal for Recovering from Trauma and Emotional Upheaval. In his research Pennebaker has followed the after effects of the Loma Prieta earthquake, and towns that experienced mass shootings, among other events and shares what he’s found.



Noah Berger / AP Photo

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is a condition that can affect a subset of people after a traumatic event like the Camp Fire. Symptoms can include nightmares or having memories about the trauma when you’re trying not to think about it to getting emotionally upset, having your heart start to race, trembling, shaking, or even getting nauseous when thinking about it. Dr. Anka Vujanovic is the Director of the Trauma and Stress Studies Center at the University of Houston. She said while some are at risk for the condition, the majority of Camp Fire survivors will recover and not develop PTSD.

John Locher / AP Photo

After a disaster like the Camp Fire, many people struggle with feelings of distress, depression and anxiety. These feelings are normal after this type of traumatic event and help is available. 

Here are some resources and advice for helping you cope with what you're feeling. 

Noah Berger / AP Photo

If you’re feeling depressed, hopeless or like you can’t stop thinking about what has happened to you, your family, your friends or your neighbors – you’re not alone. It’s important to know that there are a lot of resources out there to help. That includes counselors who are trained in working with people who have experienced trauma. Gerard Lawson is one of those counselors. He’s also the past president of the American Counseling Association and currently a professor of counselor education at Virginia Tech. When asked what he thought Camp Fire survivors needed to know about trauma, the first thing he said was that it’s important they understand that everyone has different responses to a traumatic event.

John Lochen / AP Photo

Two sites in Oroville are being proposed as possible locations for processing Camp Fire debris. 


Tricia Etchison has been through plenty of fire seasons, but she knew the Camp Fire might be different when it started raining ash on her car.

“I noticed flakes of ashes, leaf sized flakes. Small cinders or small, like, briquettes,” she said.

Etchison is a 5th grade teacher at Achieve Charter School in Paradise. As the fire spread, teachers like Etchison piled students into cars. Etchison shared a ride with an administrator, her granddaughter and several students. Another one of her grandkids, Gracie, is a sixth-grader at the school and evacuated with seven or eight of her classmates.

After Paradise: Week 6

Dec 20, 2018

Tonight on After Paradise - it’s been six weeks since the Camp Fire started. Tonight we hear about an investigation into why emergency alerts failed as the fire was unfolding… plus,  we check in with a detective about where the three people left on the missing person’s list may be… and the Butte County superintendent of schools talks about what’s next for students as they depart for a tough holiday break.

Areta Ekarafi

Wednesday was the last day of school for kids across Butte County before going into the holiday break. We continue with more from Teresa Cotsirilos, who interviewed county Superintendent of Schools Tim Taylor earlier this week. She asked him to reflect on the biggest challenges after the fire … and on how students and teachers are doing since joining new classrooms across the county. 

Photo used courtesy of Father's House Church

Thousands of Butte County families are bracing for a tough holiday season this year. Parents have been scrambling to figure out basic needs like clothing and housing and driving long distances to get their children to school. Christmas shopping is the last thing on many people’s minds. Earlier this week a group of volunteers set up decorations and presents at a church in South Oroville to make sure kids displaced by the fire had something to celebrate. Teresa Cotsirilos reports. 

One of the biggest questions officials are facing in the aftermath of this disaster is why so many people never received warnings as the fire raged toward Paradise and Concow and Magalia. Even people who had signed up to receive them. This week the San Jose Mercury News published a detailed report looking into that question. NSPR’s Tess Vigeland spoke with science reporter Lisa Krieger about the investigation.