Chronicle reporter Lizzie Johnson shares her highly-anticipated, gripping firsthand account of a California megafire.
This is an online event.
In November of 2018, one California town woke to grey, furious skies, and the smoke of a rising fire that would bring a beautiful community to its knees.
On August 17, 2021, the story of Paradise comes to Kepler’s through the firsthand reporting of a fierce, skilled, and protective journalist who watched the Camp Fire unfold. Don’t miss Angie Coiro’s interview of Lizzie Johnson for a very urgent This Is Now.
Johnson was there as the town of Paradise burned. From the smoldering rubble of a historic covered bridge to the beloved Black Bear Diner, she covered the wreckage on the ground, sharing the stories of residents and rescuers in the backdrop of one of the deadliest and untamable fires on record. Johnson, who has covered over 15 of California’s most destructive blazes, has stayed with Paradise in spirit since, training professionally as a firefighter in 2019 as she continued to report the human impact of the blaze. Paradise: One Town’s Struggle to Survive an American Wildfire offers not only a full accounting of the Camp Fire, but a clarion call to action.
Johnson’s account has already gripped readers ranging from Elizabeth Kolbert to Erik Larson, who called it a “tour de force.” She documents tragedy with empathy and nuance. In conversation at Kepler’s, Johnson will also dive deep into root causes of the Paradise fire, from runaway climate change to a deeply flawed alert system to Pacific Gas and Electric’s decades-long neglect of critical infrastructure. Paradise can rise again— but what can we do to prevent the loss of more communities in the era of the megafire?
Join the conversation on August 17.
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Registration will close one hour before the event; please reserve your spot early to guarantee access, as registrations are limited.**
Photo of Lizzie Johnson by Alexander Campbell.