Burgueño and Gray live in Quincy, which was evacuated during the fire but ultimately spared by the fire, becoming something of a refuge
for those displaced from surrounding communities.
(Note: If Quincy sounds familiar, it’s because I wrote about attending a prescribed burn there in a recent newsletter
She describes her town and those that surround it as tight-knit; the loss of many homes and buildings in the nearby historic Greenville
left her devastated and then frustrated as she noticed it fading from the headlines. The Dixie Fire was the second largest
and one of the top 20 most destructive
wildfires on record in the state, but Burgueño felt it was being forgotten within weeks of the flames getting extinguished.
“Greenville is a tiny town, and we really felt like people needed to be heard,” Burgueño says. “And so for us, it was about keeping them on the map, so to speak.”
Inspired by the intimate style of Humans of New York
, Burgueño and Gray decided to create a dedicated platform to center survivor voices in their region with dignity. Burgueño began interviewing residents in September, often going with them back to the ruins of their homes to document what remains. The final posts on Facebook and Instagram, edited and compiled by Gray, often cover a similar span of time but are vastly different from person to person. Some accounts, including Levi’s mentioned above, have led to the creation of GoFundMe
pages; others detail the difficult decisions professionals like the Plumas County Sheriff
had to make as the fire approached.