These #CampFire survivors are being asked to carry a burden for all of Paradise, Magalia and Concow… and need our help

Usually, this a blog dedicated to tracking the production of Three Days in Paradise, a documentary series about our Butte County communities before, during and after the Camp Fire.

But today, this is a call to help a group of #CampFire survivors to which fate (and the Federal Government) has dealt an especially cruel hand.

Let’s call them Camp Fire Survivors 2.0. They are the first people who moved back to the burn area in RVs and trailers to begin the recovery and plan for rebuilding… and are now being ordered to evacuate again. The health of the recovery… of the entire town and all our fates… depends on them. So they need our help.

Here are a few stories about the situation:

Paradise Post, Sacramento BeeAction News Now

I’ll explain what I know.

The Background

One of the contracts for my business, RocketSpots.tv, is to record and broadcast the Butte Board of Supervisors meeting. So I’ve been to these meetings, listened to the presentations, and talked to almost all the players involved.

In December, they passed urgency ordinances which allowed people with RVs and trailers to return and live on their own parcels in the county’s jurisdiction located in the Paradise, Magalia and Concow areas. This was to help them get back to living near home faster, get a jump on the community rebuilding and to free up living spaces in Chico, Oroville and other areas for people without access to RVs and trailers. These rules were passed in good faith after county staff and supervisors discussed the rules with the Federal Emergency Management Administration and Cal Office of Emergency Services and there were given verbal assurances the rules would be OK as long as the RVs and trailers were more than 100 feet from burned structures.

The Town of Paradise passed similar rules while also consulting with the county, FEMA and Cal OES. They did their due diligence to make sure these rules helped our community while at the same time making it possible for FEMA funds to help with the clean up. After all, the declaration of disaster allowed billions of dollars to be available to help clean up the unprecedented destruction of the fire.

As we all know, the cost to clean up over 15,000 destroyed structures far outstrips what the towns of Concow, Magalia, Pulga, Paradise, the county and all the other affected areas can afford. If we have to pay for this ourselves, these areas will remain in ruins for decades or more.

And so, with the rules in place, citizens returned. Thesy did what the county and the town asked. They applied for permits to return. In many cases, they paid thousands of dollars beyond their insurance payouts to make sure they were following the rules laid out. They did it the right way.

These were the first citizens of Magalia, Concow and Paradise to begin the rebuilding.

What FEMA gives FEMA takes

Well, apparently last week new leadership at FEMA overseeing the recovery informed county and town officials these rules would make it impossible to use FEMA funds to do this clean up. In fact if FEMA did fund this clean up, to the tune of $1.7 billion, there was a very real possibility the General Services Administration (which oversees the Federal budget) would audit the payouts in two or four or six years time and decide the payments were made improperly. At that time, the GSA could and would require the funds be returned.

The logic goes like this: The town and county can’t say these areas are so toxic and dangerous they require emergency disaster funds to clean up while at the same time allowing people to live in RVs and trailers the same areas. If they are allowed to live there, the funds cannot be used. If they don’t live there, the funds can be used.

My understanding is the FEMA leaders also provided examples of past disasters where the GSA had pulled back hundreds of millions of dollars from local cities, towns and counties.

The situation is stark: Get these Camp Fire survivors out of RVs and trailers on burned parcels, or lose this money. And as we all know, though it is hard to admit, if this money doesn’t come Paradise, Magalia and Concow will never be cleared. We will never have our communities to be rebuilt.

Two irritating side-notes… FEMA is fine with people living in unburned houses just as close for some reason, which is a point of illogic I’ve seen frustrate Paradise and county officials alike. Also, though FEMA was demanding these changes and was aware of the disruption to Camp Fire survivors, they did not send representatives to either the county or Paradise town meetings discussing these rule changes.

The burden these Camp Fire Survivors are lifting for us all

So here’s where we are: The fire’s pain was distributed almost equally. Rich and poor, old and young, new resident and 5th generation townsperson all lost. We all ran. We’re all looking for a place to live and a moment of normalcy.

We all wait for the day when we can return to the places we loved.

But the burden to make sure these funds are safe is not shared equally. It is falling on those most eager, most ready to return and begin the rebuilding. They are being asked leave the area of the Camp Fire again.

All of us survivors, those in Chico, Oroville, Gridley, Red Bluff and farther out are depending on the town, the county and these few survivors to get this right so we can rebuild.

That’s why these survivors need the help of all of us.

What we can do for them

I don’t have this all worked out, but listening to the hardships these citizens shared at the Paradise Town Meeting and Butte County Board of Supervisors Meeting, moving again is as cruel a blow as we can imagine.

For many, it’s a move too much. They spent what hard cash they had getting their RVs and trailers back to their parcels. Some just can’t afford to move again, and none deserve it. But they must so we can all have a town again.

The best information available is they need to move for as much as three months, while the CAL OES teams clear their plots first… which allows them to return in their RV and trailers with the minimal possible disruption.

So what’s needed? I think we need a movement of Camp Fire survivors to help these newly displaced neighbors. We need a portion of the funds, resources and programs already donated to be dedicated to these Camp Fire Refugees 2.0 to make it possible for them to move as easily and painlessly as possible.

I’m not in the position to orchestrate all this, but the internet is a beautiful thing to organize a lot of people quickly.

Please post below if you know someone who’s in this tough spot and could use help.

Also, please post below organizations or people who could help.

And if you have suggestions on how to do this, please let’s get this organized.

These are Camp Fire victims who are doing something tough, unfair and painful which will help us all. They are taking the hit. Let’s do what we can to help them.

15 thoughts on “These #CampFire survivors are being asked to carry a burden for all of Paradise, Magalia and Concow… and need our help

  1. I’m the founding angel of fireangels network.org and we’ve been talking about helping people relocate and or build a sustainable temporary housing that can later be turned into a useable community. what’s needed is all the agencies helping to collaborate and join resources to make some positive lasting change for the survivors.

  2. I ended up in Orland! have a large yard that someone can stay in Orland. I’m thinking of a trailer or RV of course. I would ask, no little children. I still work at night and sleep during the day

  3. I am one that on good faith of the ordinance passed in December moved out of a cockroach infested hotel that I stayed in for 2 months and had to leave my parents at and came up to our property. I attempted three times to apply for a permit for a temporary power pole but was turned away each time therefore I am not on the list of 100 that gets priority clean up. I have put out so much money to hunker down for the winter and not be reliant on the state or federal government to carry my way and pay for a hotel for me. Right now I am 100% independent and self-sufficient and now they’re going to rip that out from under me. I cannot go too far away from my mom she is disabled and I have to say close to her and could not afford to go back and forth from Colusa in a FEMA trailer to Oroville regularly to take care of her. To be honest all the stress that they’re causing us just makes me want to move my generator closer to my trailer leave it on while I go to bed so I can just peacefully die from carbon monoxide poisoning add that to your tab of death tolls for the campfire I’m done

    • My friend, please please hang tough. You stay there until forced to leave. Give us all time to get a place for you. Somehow we will survive this too.

  4. Following all this as well, and have organized a day of discusion and action in the wake of the repeal of the ordinance allowing folks to dry camp.
    We are working on a temp village. http://www.rebuildingparadise.com
    All are invited, we have invited rep Doug Lamalfa, county health department and outside parties who have been watch the story unfold from afar and want to help. Community members are encouraged to come to share their needs.
    Here is the fb event: https://www.facebook.com/search/top/?q=re-alignment%20gathering%20in%20paradise%20ca&epa=SEARCH_BOX
    Please share and come. Your voice is needed.

  5. Very well worded post. This describes our situation to a t. We spent all the donations we had to buy a trailer, and a truck to pull the trailer since ours burnt. We were unfortunate enough to have been scammed on our first truck. And had to Max out our credit cards to get one that ran. With our little girls ages 2 and 5, and 2 dogs. Relocating has become like hitting a brick wall going 65mph. We are paying $15 a day on gas for the generator to keep our trailer warm, not counting propane and water fees. Places are either charging outrageous rental fees, or won’t accept our dogs. Many people say “get rid of the dogs” no. They are family and we didn’t get them to abandon them. We tried having them in a shelter for a month and it tore my little girls up. They already lost everything they owned and sense of normalicy, I couldn’t take their best friends. We went to fema today trying to get funding to move.we weren’t insured and thought they could help given the situation Only to be told “sorry FEMA won’t cover that” I ran my antique business from home. Now I have no inventory to sell to make money, to move. It seems insane to think those in houses in the burn zone can stay but those of us in RVs have to leave. I hope there is a fix in the near future, it’s been such an emotional drain on all of us. And not having a solution to throwing us out on our faces after telling us to come back seems heartless.

  6. My sister is living in a RV on the family’s 12 acres in Paradise.. She moved up with her pets in January, after 2 months in a 1 room motel. She has no idea where to go and no more funds to move. My parents 78 & 82 years old are still in the same motel with only a bed and bath( 3 months as of Friday 2/8/19).
    They had hoped to move into the only surviving structure (a garage) by the end of February. They have 5 homes on 12 acres that need to be cleared off in Phase 2. Any housing options in Butte County are appreciated, my mom has disabilities and has health care workers visiting the motel often. They’ve been in Paradise 30 years and only want to go back up.
    Thank you in advance.

  7. I beg to differ that they are being asked to carry a burden for the rest of us. Why don’t we start holding people accountable for their choices. The city yes for crumbling under pressure. Fema said at the very beginning, you go back at your own risk. That doesn’t just mean health but also financial. I’m sympathetic to people who have no money as I have been there in my own life but this IS about a whole community who would like to get the debris cleaned up and hear a long term plan as to what is going to happen in this town. If it continues like this people who do have insurance to rebuild are going to continue to leave. Some of us are too old to wait while all this is getting sorted out. If these people can’t afford to move how are they going to rebuild? Maybe what the community needs to do is start job fairs and resources to get people going forward. The fema camps are full of people who in the near future not going to have places to live either. The camps are short term solutions. Look at the picture a year or two years down the road rather than quick fixes for the few b

  8. Thank you for explaining the truth. I think we need to hold a meeting immediately with local, state, government, North Valley Community Foundation and put our heads together to find a safe place for people to go. The mayor says it “only affects 800 people”. 100 people received power poles. 700 people are not on the priority list! That’s the Carr and Tubbs fire number of people practically! I for one cannot stand that everyone has to start over again. Trauma 2.0 is right!

  9. I think all survivors should meet in Sacramento on a DAY and all nonprofits organizations that are truly helping organize to be there ahead of time. We walk in the square around the capital with a form that can be linked to the ll the organization there. Then we can see all of PARADISE and all surrounding COMMUNITIES in one place. If Governor needs to provide a more appropriate place like stadium for all networks to get the jist of how many people the CAMP FIRE has affected.

  10. Here are some of the RV parks with available spots as of Monday, February 4:

    Pioneer RV Park, $475/Quincy. Ask for Wess or Diane. (530) 283-0769
    Gold Country RV, Auburn $825, ask for Bob (530) 885-0990.
    Yogi Bear’s Jellystown Park in Lodi has A TON OF SPOTS open and is discounting 25% to fire survivors $600 (209) 369-1041
    North Sacramento Mobile Home Park for 55 and older, ask for Paulette, (916) 922-4429.
    Yreka RV Park, (530) 841-0100, 60 spots available @ 70ft long- $595/mo.
    RV Sites in Manton, @$275/mo (530) 215-0692, ask for Patricia Drum.
    Rebel Village Village MH/RV Park, 14437 Marysville Rd, Camptonville 95922, (530) 288-0902, Tom, 3 spots @$520 for fire survivors between Grass Valley and Downeyville off Highway 49
    Campers Inn RV Park Dunnigan. 530 724-3350 Alex or Jr. Guzman 15 spots @$600/mo
    Bixby Knolls MHP 7330 Whitehouse Dr., Anderson, RV space available for 38′ with slides @$400/mo. Also, has mobile homes for sale to Fire Survivors at reduced prices. 1-2 bedroom fully renovated $8945.00
    The Outpost 7589 Humboldt Rd, Butte Meadows 95943 has 8 spots with full hookups and garbage included for $650/mo plus $50 per pet. 530 873-3050 contact Robb Gage
    River’s Edge RV Park, Red Bluff call Dena (530) 527-4434 for 2006 or newer RV or if older may accept with approved photo’s proving good condition. $425+elec/mo + $425 deposit. 18 spots available.
    River Lodge (Woodcrest Homes, Los Molinos) Dena (530) 732-5059 $400+elec, $400 deposit. 15 spots available.
    Red Bluff RV Park, 80 Chestnut, Red Bluff, Ask for Dena (530) 529-2929. $450/mo+elec. $450 deposit. Has 8 spots available
    River View MHP, 11705 Perry Ave, Red Bluff, Dena (530) 527-4434 $400+elec, $400 deposit, 55 AND OLDER ONLY has 4 open spot avail.
    Sycamore Grove RV Park, Red Bluff 1-877-444-6777. (Two week maximum stay).
    Durango RV Resort, 100 Lake Avenue, Red Bluff. (530) 527-5300.
    Roosters Landing Fishing Resort, Anderson. Call Perry (530) 365-8418. 1999 or newer RV, $350 plus elec/month plus $325 deposit. 23166 Ash Creek Road, Anderson

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