Modjeska and Silverado Canyons and the 2007 Santiago Fire


Canyon resident

Paula LaBar


OH 4149  
Narrator Paula LaBar
Interviewer Volker Janssen
Date May 31, 2008
Language English
Location Modjeska Canyon, Orange County, California
Project  2007 Santiago Fire
Format(s) Audio; Video
Other Field Notes; Photographs
Abstract An oral history with community organizer and volunteer Paula LaBar, a lifetime Orange County resident. This interview was conducted for the Center for Oral and Public History and Tucker Wildlife Sanctuary about the Santiago Fire in Modjeska Canyon in October 2007. The purpose of this interview was to gather information about LaBar's life in Orange County, her work as a community organizer, and her experiences during the Santiago fire and the flood of May 2008. This interview especially focuses on her childhood in Orange, growing up with nature, the benefits of life in the canyon; working as canyonite in Newport Beach; the characters of Modjeska Canyon; volunteering as docent at Modjeska House; the life of Madame Helena Modjeska, Shakespearian actress in the wilderness; living with raccoons and mountain lions –volunteering for the fire department; climate change and the coming of the all-year fire season; concerns with suburban development; Santiago fire: coping with gawkers; choosing belongings for voluntary and mandatory evacuation; Camp Silverado; the difference between media coverage and information; communication troubles in the canyon; help from the insurance; breaking the evacuation curfew; the benefits of good fire preparation; coming home: preparing the Halloween homecoming party; post-fire topography; the Fire Relief Committee; debris flow; volunteers from the flatland; the mudslide of May 22; landscaping from the ground up.
Video Parts 1-4 (watch online - coming soon!)
Audio Part 1 (download.mp3)
Part 2 (download.mp3)

This project is made possible, in part, by a grant from the California Council for the Humanities. The Council is an independent non-profit organization and a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. For more information on the Council, visit www.calhum.org.