Rain Draws Concerns for Camp Fire Evacuees and Crews Searching for Remains

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CHICO -- Rainy conditions are causing concerns for crews and evacuees in Butte County.

The Camp Fire is now almost 100 percent contained but, officials say crews are still out searching for human remains and with high winds and hazy conditions, falling trees pose a threat to those searching.

The rain is also causing concerns for evacuees in the Chico Walmart parking lot.

“I still have about 75 tents out there,” said Lonnie Allen.

Allen is one of the volunteers at a makeshift evacuee campsite in the parking lot of a Chico Walmart.

“We do an hourly check to make sure people are OK and not freezing,” said Allen.

Even with the cold and rainfall, volunteers say the few evacuees that are left, are sticking it out.

“They want to go home, they want to go home and see what they have left,” Allen said.

High winds are also causing concerns for crews still working to recover human remains.

“Once the winds are getting up to the area of 25-30 miles per hour, we have lots of trees coming down,” said Safety Officer, Jim Mackensen.

He says teams are working to cut down trees deemed hazardous.

“We do have crews going up there, they’re dropping P1 trees, P2 trees as they can if it’s in an area where they are searching, and they can safely follow that through,” Mackensen said.

While crews are working through the rain and wind, volunteers back at the camp are trying to help evacuees.

“It’s got a heater in here, they sleep inside instead of getting cold,” said Allen.

Many chose to stay, even after many donations were removed.

“I’m staying in my tent or the car if I get it,” said evacuee Billy Elgen.

Despite the rain, volunteers like Allen say people are sticking it out, to stay close to the place they once called home.

“A lot still have family that haven’t been found, and that’s what they’re afraid to leave for,” Allen stated.

We did see hired security on the property but we are told no one is being kicked off the property at this time.


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