‘The Ridge Lives On’ remembers fire in Magalia


The U.S. Forest Service Department of Agriculture was in attendance providing games, prizes and information about their organization. Photo credit: Ricardo Tovar

Pine Ridge School was packed full of food trucks, local vendors, games and entertainment, all in remembrance of the anniversary of the Camp Fire. Saturday marked a day for the town of Magalia to remember what they had lost and to celebrate its resilience.

The event was sponsored and partnered with Pine Ridge School, Paradise Unified School District, California How can we Help, Medspire Health, Savmor, St. John the Evangelist Episcopal Church, Magalia Pines Baptist Church, Dogtown Howler and the Chico News and Review.

Many food trucks, such as Cam Fire BBQ, showed up to provide food for ‘The Ridge Lives on’ event. Photo credit: Ricardo Tovar

“We’re tabling; we’re talking with folks, we’re helping to make sure the event goes smoothly,” Cal HOPE Program Manager Jake Fender said about their involvement. “Today, we helped out with the trash and are helping tear down these booths. Whatever it takes to help the community have something to rally around.”

Cal HOPE, along with Cal Fire, The U.S. Forest Service Department of Agriculture, the American Red Cross and the Lutheran Church Charities, were all in attendance. They made sure that from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., the event was entertaining and well taken care of.


Aubrey Maynard attended the event with her mother, who works for the U.S. Forest Service Department of Agriculture. “I took a hard hit on us [The Camp Fire



















“It was a great turnout. It was great helping these people. I know it’s been tough on them for a good year,” American Red Cross volunteer Iris Colburn said. “I want to see Paradise and Magalia com back. Everyone is ready to move forward and help the small businesses come back. I used to come up here on the weekends and I liked the antique shops, I liked the second-hand stores and right now, I miss them.”

Iris Colborn is a Red Cross volunteer and loves serving those in need. Photo credit: Ricardo Tovar
The American Red Cross was one of many volunteer groups that helped out with the event. Photo credit: Ricardo Tovar

The day had live music from local cover band MixTape, Cedarwood and Pine Ridge Students also sang and the Butte College Orchestra Ensemble made an appearance. There was also a bean-bag toss, a photo booth, face painting, a trained comfort dog to pet and various other activities.

The Camp Fire devasted so many lives that were in attendance, including several businesses around Magalia and Paradise. ‘The Ridge Lives on’ was a chance for several small businesses to show their resilience after the Camp Fire.

Estefania Miranda (left and moved to Paradise five years ago) and Gabriell Herndon (right and was born and raised in Paradise) are co-owners of Secrets of Paradise, a gift shop that sells various types of crystals. They had a sandwich shop that burned in the Camp Fire. Photo credit: Ricardo Tovar
Secrets of Paradise sells different kinds of crystals from healing to gems and beads for custom jewelry. Photo credit: Ricardo Tovar

“We had a sandwich shop before that we were trying to get going, and we opened it last year,” co-owner of Secrets of Paradise Gabriell Herndon said, of opening Secrets of Paradise, a crystal shop.

“After the fire, we had a bunch of things change and this is what we decided to do. It was fun meeting all the people here and actually being really surprised at how many people are into rocks.”

Another person who was devastated by the Camp Fire was the owner of Old King Creations, Cole Hamilton, a one-person wood carving operation. He lost his home in the Camp Fire and is now living at the Magalia Community Center. He began wood carving six months before the Camp Fire and lost all his supplies when the fire hit. He has since found a way to start up again and is looking to carve his way to rebuilding his home.

Cole Hamilton runs Old King Creations by himself and says he learned to carve from watching YouTube videos and just going out and applying his craft. Photo credit: Ricardo Tovar
Cole Hamilton learned to make wood carvings only six months before the start of the Camp Fire. Photo credit: Ricardo Tovar

Phoneix Ridge, a t-shirt company, based in Yuba City, was there to support their community with t-shirts, sweatshirts and hats so that the people lost in the Camp Fire are never forgotten.

“We were once called Phoneix Vinyl Products, which was a home business off Glory Rd.,” co-owner of Phoneix Ridge Ashley Lunsford said. “We were originally open for three years. We were actually one of the competing screen printers in Chico as well. We were on Etsy and everything else. We lost all of that in the fire and are now rebuilding as Phoneix Ridge.”

One of Phoneix Ridge’s shirts that commemorate the 85 people lost in the Camp Fire. Photo credit: Ricardo Tovar
Two of the three owners of Phonix Ridge Ashley Lunsford (left) and Lo Ree Lampke (right), located in Yuba City, and were formerly Phoneix Vinyl before losing everything to the Camp Fire. Photo credit: Ricardo Tovar

For the owner of Gypsy Mountain Face & Body Painting Jenn Gypsy of the Mountain, Paradise was the only place she considered home. She had lived there since 1997 and raised her son there. She loves Paradise and to her, it was full of the most talented, creative and caring people she has ever known. It is why she has stayed in the area for so long and the reason she continues to support events. She’ll do anything to be part of the family she loves.

“Myself, my son, and my dog made it out that day,” Jenn “Gypsy of the Mountain said. “We are recovering, and are taking it one day at a time. We lost everything. Thanks to many donations and support from entertainers and face painters worldwide, I was able to have enough supplies to still do events. I still have a long way to go to replace our life and my business supplies, but I do what I can with what I have, and for now, that’s enough.”

“I painted most of the kids in Paradise, Magalia, and Concow for most of their lives and the last 18 years,” Jenn Gypsy of the Mountain. “Our town helped me become successful and truly what Gypsy Mountain is today.” Photo credit: Ricardo Tovar

For the people of Butte County, the last year has been about hardships and overcoming those hardships. Communities coming together for days like ‘The Ridge Lives on’ are necessary to show that their spirits are strong and they will persevere into the future.

Ricardo Tovar can be reached at [email protected] or @rtovarg13 on Twitter.