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Bozeman residents and former Paradise, Calif., natives help fire victims

Posted at 10:28 PM, Nov 16, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-17 00:30:06-05

BOZEMAN- On Nov. 8, a wildfire started close to Paradise, Calif. Since then more than 70 have died and more than 600 are missing.

Heather West, a Paradise native and owner of Bozeman business Buffalo Bump, was devastated to hear the news of many missing from her hometown and nearly all of the buildings destroyed.

“That is when it hit home,” said West. “That it was taking out our town.”

Both West and her sister Holly Jones spent their entire childhood in Paradise – once they heard the news, utter shock and fear took over their bodies.

“You find yourself not able to sleep because another name comes to mind,” said Jones. “And you think, ‘Gosh I haven’t heard anybody mention this person and that person.’”

Seeking a way to help their friends and loved ones they quickly took to Facebook to ask for gift cards and clothing to send to fire victims.

‘I immediately had messages flooding my inbox,” said Jones. “I had a neighbor drop by hundreds of dollars of gift cards and she was in tears. I had another friend – same thing. They are just devastated for our fellow Americans.”

“I don’t know if I can say, but maybe Montana can help these kids and people,” said West.

Both of the sisters said it has been hard to sleep but they will continue to work with local businesses to ensure those who are left without anything are helped.

They hope to work with Montana State University because their high school in Paradise mascot was a bobcat. That way, Bobcats would be helping Bobcats.

Story by Mederios Babb, MTN News