From Paradise Intermediate to PVHS

Wildfires are out-of-control fires in a natural area, such as forests, grasslands or prairies. They usually start unintentionally. They spread rapidly and can damage natural resources, destroy homes and threaten the safety of people and firefighters. The present experiences were drawn from people who were affected by the Camp Fire – Emely Perez-Olvera


Three years ago today…I had just arrived in my classroom at Paradise Intermediate at around 7 a.m.   I had noticed a small plume of smoke as I drove up the hill to my classroom but I wasn’t worried.  By 8a.m. …it was eerily getting dark and large pieces of ash were falling all over our school.  This is what it looked like in our parking lot.  

It would be 10:45 a.m. before police and firemen showed up to tell us we had to evacuate immediately. We had been contemplating taking all of our students who hadn’t been picked up yet into the grassy fields and put wet towels over our heads with the sprinklers on us. 

The smoke was so thick, it was hard to breathe. The propane tanks were exploding all around us and getting closer….quickly.  It sounded like a war zone.  By miracle, a bus pulled up right after the police and firemen showed up.  Life forever changed for many that day…still fresh in everyone’s minds. 

The year after the Camp Fire, I was hired at PV and I feel so blessed to be teaching where my kids and I attended high school.  I am happy that I still get to keep in touch with many of my Paradise students and their families, as well as, many co-workers.