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Paradise rebuilds five years after devastating fire that wiped out California town

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AP’s journalists in California led by Adam Beam, Olga Rodriguez, Janie Har, Noah Berger and Terry Chea, delivered memorable coverage of the fifth anniversary of the wildfires that demolished Paradise, California. While most other outlets focused on Paradise’s physical efforts to rebuild the town, AP’s package included details about efforts to guard against wildfire — from smarter building to underground power lines to new evacuation routes — as well as stories about the people affected by the devastation and their emotional and physical resilience, told through the words of Beam, Rodriguez and Har.

Freelance photographer Berger was able to match earlier shots that he took of Paradise with those taken after the fire, offering stunning before-and-after images. And video journalist Chea effectively captured the hopes and struggles of the town’s residents. In one particularly gripping clip, Donna Hooton told Chea she felt the fire was a monster who could come back to get her at any time.

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