Sample Geography Paper on Camp Fires in Paradise, California

A news article by Alexander, Sernoffsky and Cassidy titled ‘Camp Fire: Death toll rises to 42 as coroner’s recovery crews find more bodies,’ the authors present a detailed report regarding a camp fire that recently ravaged Paradise, Butte County, resulting in multiple deaths and destruction of property. The article describes the reactions of the locals after the fire and how they responded to the perception that some of the locals of Paradise were still missing. From the article, one gets the idea that most of those who resided in the Paradise area were retirees. Some of them had various health challenges which made it difficult to move fast during the fire and subsequently led to their loss of life. The article also brings out the perception that the securities tried their best in saving the affected individuals. Through the entire article, one question that constantly comes to mind is the contribution of California’s vegetation types and land use characteristics to the spread of the fire.

From the article, the wild fire spread so rapidly that some of the inhabitants of Paradise were unable to escape from the fire. On the one hand, their inability to escape was attributed to their individual health conditions. However, it is also possible that the terrain of the land prevented the people from escaping fast enough. The report shows that the fire affected more than 117,000 acres of land and it was only possible to contain 30% of the affected area. Most of the affected area as marked in the article, is characterized by heavy vegetation, which is characteristic of the types of climate in the area. Moreover, it also appears to be within a highland area, which could have contributed to lack of availability of fire quelling resources.

According to Alexander and Others (Camp fire devastates, par. 3) the Paradise area of California, around Butte Creek is characterized by a hot-summer Mediterranean Climate, in which summers almost mirror the climate of a semi arid region. This climate implies that the temperatures around the months of October to December can be as high as 80 – 100 degrees Celsius. With such a high temperature, wild firestorms are common. The last in the same area occurred in 2008. While the article does not provide a lot of direct descriptions of the fire affected areas, it presents a clear map that not only enables one to understand the scope of the fire affected area but also the general landscape of the area.

One of the key features of California landscape as seen from the presented map is that it has diverse features. From the descriptions given in the article, Paradise area was more of a residential area than a natural vegetation infested area.  The map however shows a heavy presence of vegetation, a contoured landscape most likely to be characteristic of a hilly/ mountainous area sloping downwards from Paradise towards Lake Oroville. Furthermore, the river estuaries that are all connected to the Lake give the impression that the river drains into Lake Oroville.

While the article gives important information about the Paradise area, the implications of the Geography of the Paradise area on the Geography of California is insignificant outside the landscapes. The article does not delve into how the fire affected the general Californian Geography. One of the essential pieces of information that would be relevant in the context of this article is the link between human activities and the degrading impacts of the wildfire.




Works Cited

Alexander, Kurtis, Johnson, Lizzie, Wu, Gwendolyn, and Allday, Eric. “Camp fire devastates Paradise near Chico — businesses, church, numerous homes burn.” San Francisco Chronicle, November 9, 2018.

Alexander, Kurtis, Sernoffsky, Evans and Cassidy, Megan. “Camp fire: death toll rises to 42 as coroner’s recovery crews find more bodies.” San Francisco Chronicle, November 12, 2018.