Officials assist homeless Camp Fire victims before drenching storm arrives midweek


When the Camp Fire erupted on Nov. 8, thousands of people fled their homes to escape the flames. Now, some of these evacuees are on the move again before a storm moves into California at midweek.

Some people that were forced from their homes by the Camp Fire have set up tents in a Walmart parking lot in Chico, California, as a place to live until they are able to find a more permanent home.

Living in tents is a much cheaper option for families that cannot afford an extended stay at a hotel and for those who could not find a pet-friendly shelter.

However, officials are trying to relocate many of the people living in these tents to shelters before a storm moves into California at midweek.

"People staying in the parking lot are not being forced to leave; however, rain is currently in the weather forecast for the area in the next several days, and Butte County and the City of Chico want to ensure that all evacuees displaced by the Camp Fire have a safe, dry and clean place to stay," according to a press release by Butte County officials.

Camp Fire in California forces evacuations

AP Photo/Garret Fischer

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People sit by their tents at a makeshift encampment outside a Walmart store for people displaced by the Camp Fire, on Friday, Nov. 16, 2018, in Chico, California.

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Volunteer members of an El Dorado County search and rescue team search the ruins of a home, looking for human remains, in Paradise, Calif., Sunday, Nov. 18, 2018, following a Northern California wildfire.

John Locher/AP

Dakota Keltner, right, rests on Havyn Cargill-Morris in a truck at a makeshift encampment outside a Walmart store for people displaced by the Camp Fire, Friday, Nov. 16, 2018, in Chico, Calif. The two, from Magalia, Calif., escaped the fire with their families.

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A vehicle drives through smoke from a wildfire near Pulga, Calif., Sunday, Nov. 11, 2018.

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Officials stand over human remains at a burned out home destroyed by the Camp Fire, Sunday, Nov. 11, 2018, in Paradise, Calif.

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A bag containing human remains lies on the ground as officials continue to search at a burned out home at the Camp Fire, Sunday, Nov. 11, 2018, in Paradise, Calif.

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A vintage car rests among debris as the Camp Fire tears through Paradise, Calif., on Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018.

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The sun being obscured by wildfire smoke.


Cars driving through flames as people evacuate from the Camp Fire.

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As the Camp Fire burns nearby, a scorched car rests by gas pumps near Pulga, Calif., on Sunday, Nov. 11, 2018.

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This photo provided by Nicole Kowalczyke shows a piece of a burned page that fell out of the sky in Chico, Calif., Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018, as the Camp Fire burns nearby.

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A home burns as the Camp Fire rages through Paradise, Calif., on Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018.


Smoke from the Camp Fire as seen from North Chico, California.

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Flames consume a home as the Camp Fire tears through Paradise, Calif., on Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018. A California fire official says a fast-moving wildfire in Northern California has destroyed structures and injured civilians.

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Flames burn inside a van as the Camp Fire tears through Paradise, Calif., on Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018.

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Flames consume a car dealership as the Camp Fire tears through Paradise, Calif., on Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018.

"A shelter is open at the Butte County Fairgrounds in Gridley (199 E. Hazel Street) and supported by the American Red Cross," Butte County officials said.

The county is providing free transportation to the shelter for those that wish to relocate ahead of the unsettled weather set to arrive at midweek.

While rain from the impending storm could drench those who are living out of tents, it will help firefighters to contain the Camp Fire which continues to grow in size.

The rain will also help to rid California of widespread smoke that has loomed over the state since the Camp Fire ignited and has caused poor air quality in places such as San Francisco.

"Where Californians have spent days engulfed in toxic wildfire smoke, incoming rain and wind will offer dramatic relief later this week," AccuWeather Meteorologist and air quality blogger Faith Eherts said.

The air quality in San Francisco has improved slightly since last week, but remains at an unhealthy level, according to Air Now.

People should avoid prolonged physical activity where air quality is poor as it could be hazardous to their health. Cable cars in San Francisco that have been shut down due to the air quality will return to service on Tuesday.

As of Monday night, the Camp Fire has scorched over 151,250 acres and was 70 percent contained. Officials estimate that it may take until Nov. 30 until the fire is fully contained.

The death toll has also been on the rise as the fire slowly grows, with 79 confirmed fatalities as of Monday. Nearly 700 people also remain missing as crews search through debris left behind by the most destructive and deadliest wildfire in California's history.

Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea said at a press conference that he believes the large number of missing or unaccounted for persons is because people who evacuated quickly during the early stages of the fire and are currently safe may not be aware that they are considered missing.

He said officials are making the list of missing people public so people can see if their name is on it and can call authorities to tell them they are safe.

CA Fire update Nov 18

The impending wet weather will hinder ongoing search and rescue efforts across Northern California.

Up to 400 people have been involved in the search and recovery effort, searching through the remains of charred houses in Paradise, California, according to the Associated Press.

Rain is forecast to move into Northern California on Wednesday and may continue into the weekend. The wet weather could slow search efforts and bring the threat of flooding and debris flows to the areas impacted by the fire.

President Donald Trump visited the area over the weekend, as well as areas in Southern California that were devastated by the Woolsey Fire.

"We've never seen anything like this in California; we've never seen anything like this yet. It's like total devastation," Trump said while visiting Paradise.

Said Dr. Joel N. Myers, founder and president of AccuWeather, "This is a serious humanitarian as well as economic disaster for the state of California, possibly rivaling the negative impacts of the great earthquakes there. At this point, AccuWeather estimates that the total damage and economic impact of the California wildfires has already exceeded $80 billion and will likely exceed $150 billion and possibly reach $200 billion this week based on AccuWeather forecast conditions of strong winds and very little rain combined with very dry grounds and vegetation aggravated by lack of rain and strong parched winds."

"This dramatic economic loss will cause substantial damage to California's economy with repercussions to its annual budget potentially resulting ultimately in increased taxes. Deteriorating economic conditions brought on by the negative economic impact of the fires coming on the heels of last year's losses will stress the state's budget possibly causing the state's credit to deteriorate which, if it occurs, will result in lower bond ratings and higher interest rates with the snowball effect to greater deficits and more expenses," Myers said.

camp fire air quality san francisco

The skyline is obscured by smoke and haze from wildfires as a tour boat makes its way along the waterfront Thursday, Nov. 15, 2018, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)