Uncertainty for fire evacuees camping at Walmart in Chico

- It’s cold in Chico, the air quality is bad and rain is on the way.

“We have blankets covering our tents as well as inside kind of insulating it. I wear about ten jackets, I layer,” said Charmaine Pope who evacuated from Magalia.

Hundreds of Camp Fire survivors are sleeping in the elements. A makeshift tent city in a Walmart parking lot in Chico is their temporary home, “We don’t where to go, we can’t go back up there,” said Magalia evacuee, Chuck Pfenning.

Adding to the confusion of what’s next are reports that all evacuees will be kicked out of the unofficial evacuation center, but Chico city officials said that’s not necessarily true.

“The reasons why those conversations of occurring, in regards to deadlines and with regard to we need to get them off, is out of compassion it’s not out of anger or this is inappropriate it’s you know what we can do better,” said Mark Orme, Chico City Manager.

The City of Chico and Butte County won’t force people to leave Walmart per officials, but Orme said it’s not sustainable and evacuees need resources, so they’re bringing in buses to offer rides shelters, “They should move along to a place that’s better with more secure more safe and healthy for them to live in,” said Orme.

Orme said there’s enough room at a newly expanded shelter in Gridley to house every single person in the parking lot.

Orme also said the city doesn’t have control over the portapotties and food trucks set up, so if those are taken out that wasn’t a city decision. 
 

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