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Past Event

Paradise: Inside California's Deadliest Wildfire

In November 2018, Paradise, California suffered through the nation's deadliest wildfire in a century. The Camp Fire leveled the mountain town, killing 85 people and destroying more than 18,000 structures. At the time, reporter Lizzie Johnson was a staff writer for the San Francisco Chronicle. Her definitive firsthand accounts of the fire and its wreckage helped tell the vivid story of this massive disaster.

Three years later, Johnson's new book, Paradise: One Town's Struggle to Survive an American Wildfire, provides a detailed overview of the fire that destroyed Paradise, examines what went wrong and suggests ways to avert future tragedies as the climate crisis unfolds and California's drought worsens. Drawing on years of on-the-ground reporting and reams of public records, including 911 calls and testimony from a grand jury investigation, Johnson provides a minute-by-minute account of the Camp Fire, following residents and first responders as they fight to save themselves and their town.

As California enters what is usually the toughest part of its fire season during a historically dry year, please join us in a timely look back at the tragedy of Paradise, California, what is being done to bring that city back, and what we all need to be aware of regarding the increasing dangers from wildfires in our "new normal."


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This is an online-only program; please pre-register to receive a link to the live-stream event.

Copies of Paradise are available for purchase at checkout (shipping to U.S. domestic addresses only).

Johnson photo by Alexander Campbell; Weil photo by Ana Homonnay.

August 24, 2021

United States

Image - Lizzie Johnson

Lizzie Johnson

Staff Writer, The Washington Post; Author, Paradise: One Town's Struggle to Survive An American Wildfire

Image - Elizabeth Weil

In Conversation with Elizabeth Weil

Reporter, ProPublica