Now, we know better.
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In the simplest terms, Paradise and Butte County, and their people, have become the latest victims in string of wildland fires burning through urban areas that seemed inconceivable a few years ago.
This last... so hot and encompassing that as people escaped, they left their flaming shoes behind.
We're calling this the new normal?
Did you ever really count parts per million before the new normal?
Did you expect the mask to become more than a fashion statement in the new normal?
This has been the most destructive fire season in California history.
At least 101 people dead, and counting.
Almost 1,700,000 acres burned, and counting.
VIDEO: One of last residents to evacuate Paradise films as Camp Fire burns town
442 million dollars spent in manpower and resources... and still counting.
More than 10,000 homes lost... and still counting.
Christina Hixon lost her home in Paradise. In this photo, she's showing us a video of it burning.
She broke into tears again while talking about it.
Then, took to the the arms of a friend in a tent city filled with so others just like her. A place where everyone had uncertainty in common.
Where they sat in their cars to keep warm. One can only hope that this will be rock bottom.
Their road ahead -- like Sonoma County's, behind.
In Butte as in Sonoma, they will discover sifting as a metaphor discoveries, both physical and emotional.
In the process, they may find a wedding ring, or grandmother's box -- and then realize they lost her recipes.
These moments may continue for years.
MORE: California fire updates, maps, coverage across the state
Ahead, they face the massive clean-up.
And long lines of well-intentioned bureaucracy.
And the paperwork? The searching for proofs if those proofs still exist?
Then add frustration...
If you're hoping for a happy ending here, it will take time. The people of Butte County can and will find ways back home.
Sonoma County felt just as bleak...and we've got progress there.
As for Paradise? Not lost.
Just redefined for now.
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