Makeshift camp at Walmart parking lot for Camp Fire evacuees to shut down


Some wildfire evacuees at a makeshift camp in Butte County are looking for new places to go.

Volunteers put up signs letting evacuees know the donations and services would no longer be available at that location.

“You know, wasted sleeping bags, pillows, blankets, tents,” evacuee Rocky Martin said.

That’s what Martin sees now.

“There’s a hundred people down there that they can’t take nothing that they gave to us,” Martin said.

Martin is one of dozens of people temporarily staying here.

But a sign posted at the site on Thursday alerted evacuees that services and donations would be phased out.

“‘I think if anybody were to go by and look at it, you can realize that that’s not sustainable,” Chico City Manager Mark Orme said.

Orme says people wanting to help have been generous dropping off donations.

But with cooler temperatures along with rain expected next week, it would be hard to offer services there for evacuees.

“Those two things create a deadline for people to really get into the proper sheltering,” Orme said.

Leticia Burtion is one of the volunteers helping people like Michael Fluegel get to a Red Cross shelter.

“I’ve been walking the streets because it was so cold,” Fluegel said.

“It took me a long time to persuade him, and finally, we went to iHop, and he said he would go with me,” Burtion said.

Orme says he wants people like Fluegel to be safe inside during the cold weather.

“Keep them comfortable in a way that allows them to realize that, ‘You know what? Hope is on the horizon,'” Orme said.

Despite the forecast for rain this week, some evacuees are choosing to stay in the Walmart lot for now.

And many volunteers are choosing to remain behind to help them as well.



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