Reporter

Robin Epley

Robin Epley covers general assignments and the city of Oroville for the Chico Enterprise-Record. She is a Sacramento native and an alumna of Chico State University, who previously reported for publications in California and on the east coast.

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In 2017 and 2018 alone, 139 lives and tens of thousands of homes, schools, businesses and other structures were lost to wildfires in California. The cost of firefighting rose to $773 million and the most recent estimate of insured losses from just 2018 is continuing to rise, and is currently well over $12 billion. 
At one point during the Camp Fire, Chico State University student Cyndi Ledet went over to her friend’s house for comfort. The air was smoky and orange still, and Chico was under a haze caused by an air inversion -- trapping lethal levels of smoke over the city.
The day of Nov. 8, Enloe Medical Center’s emergency room had its busiest day ever, said Kathy Cawthon, the hospital’s director of quality of medical staff services.
Clean air is something we often take for granted. Our breath should slip in and out of our lungs with thoughtless ease. But when what we inhale is polluted, our bodies struggle and that natural -- or inherent -- process becomes ragged and labored.