Proceeds to the Camp Fire Victims November 14, 2018January 8, 2019 by balladofjameslawless California’s Camp Fire is one of the most tragic events I’ve ever witnessed. On the morning the fire broke out, I was in the town of Oroville, about 20 miles south of Paradise and Concow. I received a call from two of my good friends in Paradise, telling me that they were being evacuated, and to be cautious. I did not understand the severity at that time. A few hours later, they called me again. Vehemently shouting to “GET THE FUCK OUT!” They were completely hysterical. In a tumultuous jumble of speech, they managed to get across how they barely made it out alive. How the eight miles of one-road-in, one-road-out stretch took over three hours to get through. How people were frantically running for their lives. How as they drove through embers, the inside of their car felt like a sauna, and their skin felt as if they’d been sitting under the sun. How the sky was black. How there were truck beds filled with children whose parents couldn’t reach them at the closed schools. How the hospital was on fire. The Kmart. Every tree. Every utility pole. How propane tanks sounded like bombs exploding around them. How bulldozers were coming in to clear the remnants of cars off the road, some of which still had skeletons of people inside. And how the fire was spreading at hellacious speeds of up to 80 MPH. I asked them the best direction to head. They said, “West until you hit the 5, then head North.” As I drove off in that direction, it looked like Black Sunday of the Dust Bowl. As if soon, everything would be swallowed by this thick mass. I met up with them in Redding that night. A little over 100 miles. It took about that long to escape the smoke and the raining debris. The nearby towns were apocalyptic, and there is nothing left of Paradise and Concow. Their home, as well as many others has been destroyed. 6 days have gone by, and last I heard, my friends can still hardly sleep at night. They have nightmares that a fire is chasing them away. This is the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in California history. Just overnight, it has spread another 5,000 acres. Great efforts will be needed to build this place back up, and my best goes out to those who lost everything. In order to help toward restoration, this weeks show at Lulu Carpenter’s in Santa Cruz will be a fundraiser for the victims. So please come out, show your support, and leave your tips!