Northern California Wild Fires!
It is Saturday November 10, 2018 and it is overcast outside.
It is not the rainy damp kind of overcast that is normally welcomed after a hot dry summer season. Oh no! Fires have returned to Northern California and this time Camp Fire has struck Paradise in Butte County and is moving towards Oroville. My heart just aches as more people are getting displaced amidst yet another evacuation. I know too many people who have lost everything in the various fires from the Sonoma and Napa fires last year, Lake County fires three years in a row, and now Paradise.
My thoughts go out to our neighbors in Butte County and hope you find shelter and some alternate housing soon.
Below are some pictures comparing what the air looked like on my bike ride four weeks ago and what it looks like today. Paradise is 1 hour 45 minutes from Davis and yet the air smells like a yule log burning right in my own fire place and the smoke is so thick causing shortness of breath.
The ash is raining down and covering our cars just a fairly short distance from people faced with a real crisis. There are only two ways in and out of Paradise so people have had to abandon their cars and walk away on foot in the road jams and catch rides with others closer to the evacuation path.
I want to help, my friends want to help, many people want to help. Although with good thoughts and intensions, many people start looking through their cupboards and bring various household goods and toiletries to donation sites. Unfortunately, these kind of donations are all too common and end up taking valuable space at the crisis centers and shelters. The best way to help is with monetary donations or gift cards. Local organizations such as North Valley Community Foundation will help oversee the funds are directed to where the funds are needed.
Another way to help evacuees is to offer free rooms through Air BnB
Cal Fire has some important information about Returning home After a Wildfire such as checking for embers in the attic and vents, making sure appliances are off before turning electricity back on. Here is a link to Cal Fire’s brochure for more information
For people who have lost their homes, Vitek Mortgage Group has some helpful information on how to start moving on with their lives at this blog
100% CalHFA mortgage assistance is another resource that Vitek offers fire victims who have become displaced due to natural fires whether they were homeowners or renters
To be eligible for CalHFA Natural Disaster financing:
Previous property must be located in an area declared as a Major Disaster and posted on the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) website
Previous property must have been the borrower’s primary residence
Previous property must have been destroyed or declared uninhabitable with supporting documentation supplied from either (i) the insurance company or (ii) the local government jurisdiction
Borrowers affected by a declared Major Disaster are eligible to purchase a new home using CalHFA loan programs within three (3) years of that Major Disaster’s declaration date
Borrowers must meet all other CalHFA loan program guidelines, including published income limits for their county, and property sales price
FHA and CalHFA definitions at FAQ page