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Chico State

Camp Fire

Logo of California Burning with digital illustrations of pine trees and fire in the background.

NSPR’s ‘California Burning’ Tracks Wildfire History, Science and Solutions

“California Burning”—a podcast series and five-part radio documentary produced by NSPR—explores the history, science, and solutions to California wildfires.

Artist Discovers Keys to Healing

Community means everything to alum Jess Mercer. So when the Camp Fire destroyed most of hers, she was driven to help, however she could.

North State Public Radio's Sarah Bohannon poses and smiles in front of a rust-colored fence with leaves from bushes behind her.

5 Questions with Alumna Sarah Bohannon

When Sarah Bohannon (Journalism, '13) began covering the Camp Fire for North State Public Radio, the already-accomplished news director was about to embark on a new project: the National Edward R. Murrow Award-winning program "After Paradise."

Eli Goodsell gestures with his hand while standing in a bright green meadow surrounded by faculty and staff.

Warriors Against Wildfire

At the Big Chico Creek Ecological Reserve, action to temper and prevent devastating wildfires has been taking place for 20 years.

Three NSPR employees sit in a news studio among radio equipment.

NSPR Wins National Broadcast Award for Camp Fire Reporting

The NSPR news team has been recognized with a National Edward R. Murrow Award for “After Paradise.”

Cheyenne Arrington flies through the air as she swings from bar to bar at the beach.

Alum Shows Her Skills on ‘American Ninja Warrior’

Whether on the ropes course at Chico State or cliff diving around the world, Camp Fire survivor Cheyenne Arrington (Exercise Physiology, '18) is not one to let obstacles get in her way.

A screenshot of video showing virtual reality rendering of the Honey Run Covered Bridge,.

A Virtual Vision of Recovery

With state-of-the-art technology and fast-paced research, students preserved a virtual scan of the historic Honey Run Covered Bridge—and it may help bring it back.

Megan Kurtz stands in front of a building.

Faculty Member Leads as Camp Fire Liaison

As Chico State takes an active role in Camp Fire recovery, someone needs to lead the way: Megan Kurtz accepted the challenge.

Katie Rosauer smiles as she poses in front of Kendall Hall.

A Calling to Help

Katie Rosauer found her calling through trial and error. And now that she has, she's committed to helping those around her in need.

A rock inscribed with the words "home sweet home" sits among the rubble of a burnt house, with only the chimney still standing behind it.

From Now On

Five students, faculty, and staff who lost their homes in the Camp Fire share how their lives have changed since that fateful morning. Each has their own challenges and hopes for the future.

Portrait of Mary Gibaldi

A Stronger Sense of Space

Master’s candidate Mary Gibaldi focused her English studies on the subject of space in literary worlds while discovering her own new expression of “home.”

Alexa Benson-Valavanis sits in a chair in her light-flooded office.

When Community Calls

The local foundation Alexa Benson-Valavanis shaped to support area nonprofits suddenly went global last fall as one of the main places to donate during the Camp Fire.

Class Notes: Spring 2019

For the spring 2019 issue of the alumni magazine Chico Statements, our alums shared their stories of bravery, good deeds, and recovery both during and after the Camp Fire.

Karin Wells shines a flashlight into a burnt vehicle enshrouded in darkness from smoke with the text "The Search for What Remains" imposed bove

The Search for What Remains

Leading the nation's largest recovery effort since 9/11, Chico State's Human Identification Laboratory responded to the Camp Fire for the crucial, yet daunting task of searching for human remains.

Illustration of a person kneeling and holding out a heart to a person who is huddled up and appears to be under a dark cloud

How To: Help Someone in Pain

How do you speak to a loved one has experienced loss or trauma? Psychology professor and therapist Kyle Horst offers some tips.

Chico State employees help answer questions of their colleagues during a Camp Fire resource fair.

StoryCenter to Document Community’s Stories of Resilience During CSU, Chico Visit

In partnership with the Butte County Library, storytelling platform StoryCenter will visit Chico State's Meriam Library March 28 to collect and record stories from the community about the Camp Fire.

Alex Grant looks into the viewfinder of a camera as he records a press conference.

Next-Level News

In the crisis of the Camp Fire, The Orion reporters were not only learning the job on the fly, but providing critical updates to their community.

A bobcat peers through the bare branches of a maple tree, behind a mossy trunk.

Wildcat Returns to Wild

A rehabilitated bobcat that suffered fifth-degree burns in the Camp Fire was released to its new home at the University’s Big Chico Creek Ecological Reserve.

The Wildcats Rise logo is seen over a sunrise behind Trinity Hall.

Wildcats Rise Supports Hundreds of Students, Employees

The Wildcats Rise Fire Recovery Fund has distributed more than $661,000 to 534 students, faculty, and staff impacted by wildfire since early November.

A student helps a young boy make a Christmas tree out of green pipecleaners.

Planting Hope, Harvesting Joy

For their final project, "Agricultural Leadership" students raised more than $35,000 in toys, blankets, backpacks, gift cards, and other gifts for schools and families directly impacted by the Camp Fire.

Stickers and t-shirts featuring the design of a pine tree over the state of California are displayed.

Alum Brings Healing with #ButteStrong Design

It took Chico State alum Zac Acker less than three minutes to sketch out the design, & when he posted it on the 12 Volt Tattoo Facebook page, it was clear the #ButteStrong design was a remembrance for what Paradise residents had lost in the Camp Fire—as well as what it still had.

Josh Leavy smiles as he brews Resilience IPA in a container reading "San Francisco Brewing Co."

Beer-Crafting Alums Respond With Resilience

Answering the call to raise money for the Sierra Nevada Camp Fire Relief Fund, brewers from across the country have signed on to sell Resilience, an IPA crafted from donated ingredients and packaged in Sierra Nevada cans.

Deborah Summers smiles as she walks past a row of dogs in crates.

Faculty Act to Care for Animals

Whether working with official groups or tapped by their colleagues to help, faculty members were among volunteers who rushed to support animal rescue efforts after the Camp Fire.

Trinity Hall amid a glowing orange sky.

From the President: Recounting the Camp Fire

President Gayle Hutchinson reflects on the Camp Fire, as well as how we will rise as a community to recover and rebuild.

Camp Fire Survivors: In Their Own Words

Seven Camp Fire survivors opened up about their escapes, their lives since the fire broke out, and the ongoing challenges they face. Here are their accounts, in their own words, as shared for #WeAreChico.

Chico State Cycling Team working to clear Brian Kavenaugh’s fire break to mitigate against the Camp Fire.

Chico State Cyclists Circle up to Help Teammate

Some teammates are just teammates. But when one member of the Chico State Cycling Team asked for help building a line break around his home as the Camp Fire marched through the foothills, his teammates didn’t hesitate to help.

Piles of donated goods sit on the lawn in front of the Phi Kappa Tau house, with a sign reading "Donate here."

Chico State Greeks Join Forces to Provide For Evacuees

With Phi Kappa Tau leading the way in rounding up donations, Chico State fraternities and sororities came together with a big day-one donation drive to provide for evacuees and victims of the Camp Fire.

Student Katie Allen talks to a teacher across a table covered in markers and other supplies.

Teachers Help Teachers Color Classrooms with Love

School of Education students joined educators from across Butte County to Color a Classroom with Love, providing Paradise teachers who lost their classrooms in the Camp Fire with a start on the supplies they need to resume teaching.

Jennifer Lefort stands among rows of beds set up at the Neighborhood Church evacuation center.

Students Care for Evacuees’ Physical and Mental Wellness

Dozens of cots lined East Avenue Church in tidy rows, a stark contrast to the chaos from which Camp Fire evacuees fled. Every face reflected the effects of exhaustion mixed with terror, the air of uncertainty as thick as the smoke outside.

Livestock judging Team members stand in the smoky haze at the Butte County Fairgrounds.

Student Team Lends a Hand to Help Livestock

Combining love of agriculture with large animal expertise, the Livestock Judging Team cleaned pens and fed donkeys, horses, llamas and other creatures displaced by the Camp Fire.

Michael McNairn and Sara Rumiano huddle over a desk while reviewing paperwork in the Procurement office at Chico State.

Harnessing the Power of Purchasers

Chico State purchasing staff put their unique expertise to work for the county's Camp Fire taskforce responsible for sourcing, buying, and paying for critical supplies.

Volunteers working to assemble 1,200 sandwiches for firefighters, first responders, and shelter volunteers during the Camp Fire.

Feeding Those Affected by the Flames

The nonprofit World Central Kitchen has served up thousands of meals for Camp Fire first responders and evacuees—efforts fueled by Chico State volunteers.

Kallie Griffin types on a laptop in the medical command center, a wall of medical supplies behind her.

Creating Comfort and Order out of Chaos

When a group of Chico State students found a Camp Fire evacuation shelter in need of aid to track those in its care who were displaced, establish a medical records system, and help with filling prescriptions, they launched into action.

Jessica Anthony prepares to take a call as her mother reviews application paperwork.

Answering the Call for Care

In the wake of the Camp Fire, all volunteers are being routed through the nonprofit Caring Choices. Students, employees, and alumni are helping lead the charge of vetting and assigning applicants where they are needed most.

The Wildcats Rise logo is seen over a sunrise behind Trinity Hall.

CSU, Chico Rises to Support Campus and Greater Community Directly Impacted by the Camp Fire

Chico State is working to understand and address the impact of current wildfires on the heart of its institution—students, faculty, and staff—as well as provide mutual aid to emergency responders.

A giant smoke column is seen exploding from flames on a darkened hillside as a wildfire rages out of control.

The Rise of Megafires

As wildfires grow faster, larger, and more deadly every day, alumni and faculty share professional and personal perspectives on what’s happening, why, and how we can respond.