Fire in Paradise Review: An Intense Account Of 2018’s Catastrophic Camp Fire

By Daniel Hart
Published: October 31, 2019
Netflix short documentary Fire in Paradise


Netflix short documentary Fire in Paradise provides interviews and footage from that fatal day in 2018 when California was trapped by the deadliest wildfire.

Netflix short documentary Fire in Paradise documents California’s deadliest wildfire. It’s an intense account of the events that occurred in 2018 and was ironically titled “Camp Fire”. It was far from that.

Fire in Paradise demonstrates the speediness of deadly fires. The documentary opens up with emergency teams taking the initial calls and marking a small incident fire. Netflix ramps up the intense account of the events by displaying a map, showing the progress of what was deemed a run-of-a-mill fire that was presumably going to be extinguished. Fire in Paradise shows news clippings from the day before — “windy hot weather — the risk of fires is high”. The lack of humidity, the wind, and heat was a perfect balance for what followed.

I remember reading an account of a wildfire in Australia a while back, and it described how civilians were trapped in cars and burned alive, and I always wondered how that is possible. Fire in Paradise uses a variety of footage to demonstrate how quickly it can become life or death. There’s a sense of entrapment, as the fire takes many forms and directions, cutting off roads and forming a circle. Fire in Paradise is a genuine account of what happened, but it still does not provide that breadth of how unprecedented and uncontrollable the situation is. I believe documenting the severity and scope of the scenario is almost impossible to capture. It is clearly an overwhelming experience.

Fire in Paradise is an emotional account; it takes interviews from teachers, fire service officers, civilians, and police officers. The stress, trauma, and loss from that day stay with them. The interviewees struggle to hold back the anguish and pain they feel from that day, as they escalate in their minds the events of what happened. It was a fire that was impossible to stop — nature was winning in the most destructive of ways. An entire town was destroyed overnight. Seeing the footage of schools evacuated, and little resources to help, is terrifying to watch.

The most concerning takeaway from Netflix’s short documentary Fire in Paradise is that wildfires are a race that humans cannot win. As one of the interviewees stated it is getting hotter every year, less humid, and these are the environments fires thrive off. For 40 minutes of your time, this short documentary is worth a watch.

Movie Reviews, Netflix