Reader's Digest

Painting Paradise

An artist fights a devastatin­g forest fire, one can of spray paint at a time

- By Andy Simmons

It was America’s deadliest wildfire in at least 100 years and the most destructiv­e in California history. The Camp Fire started at 6:33 a.m. on November 8, 2018, touched off by faulty electrical transmissi­on lines in the town of Paradise. It burned for 17 days and consumed 153,336 acres north of Sacramento. In all, the fire caused $16.5 billion in damage, destroying nearly 19,000 buildings, leaving 50,000 homeless, and killing 85. The beauty of this beautifull­y named place was gone.

Shane Grammer grew up 15 miles away in Chico, and he followed the news of the fire’s deadly path from Los Angeles, where the 47-year-old father of three works as a creative director for Disney’s theme parks. Grammer still has friends in the Paradise area. When his childhood buddy Shane Edwards posted pictures of his white chimney—the only part of his house to survive—grammer felt helpless. And then he had an idea.

“I’ve got to paint that chimney,” he told Inside Edition. “I’m not trying to say anything. It’s just that I’m an artist. And it was an opportunit­y for me to express and be an artist.”

On December 31, amid the rubble, charred trees, and burned-out husks of cars, Grammer spent three hours spray-painting a strikingly eerie blackand-white image of a woman on the

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