Tag: Inside Climate News

The Sound of Rain, the Crackle of Fire Take Victims Back to the Moment of Their Nightmares

Daniel Hill remembers the indelible sounds: how the wind gusted like a dry hurricane, and the trees crackled before bursting into flame, and his neighbors’ propane and well-pressure tanks exploded as the Camp Fire swept through each block of his hometown of Concow.

In the early morning of Nov. 8, 2018, Daniel, with his family and friends, fought the blaze as its flames towered and swirled across their northern California farm. By midday, the fire would kill 85 people in Butte County and incinerate nearly the entire town of
Paradise, population 26,000, becoming the deadliest, most destructive fire in California history.

Disasters split people’s lives apart into a before and an after. Even as they move on, for victims of these disasters, the sounds from those disasters take them right back to the dark moments.

The tanks exploding during the Camp Fire told people their communities would soon become unrecognizable. The disembodied beeping of smoke detectors in piles of rubble after Hurricane Michael marked the destruction. In the aftermath, the familiar morning bustle of a small town disappeared, becoming a troubling silence instead. New sounds like the whine of chainsaws arrived during the rebuilding, which often added to the confusion of a newly unstable world. After the trauma, everyday sounds that once brought comfort — rainfall, the crackle of fire — now brought anguish and pain. Read more.

Also from InsideClimate News’ American Climate Project:
As More-Powerful Hurricanes Batter the Country, Scientists Ask, ‘How Much Worse Did Climate Change Make It?’