Camp Fire Recovery Update: April 12, 2019

The Town of Paradise recently issued the first building permits to local residents eager to rebuild their homes following November’s Camp Fire. This is a monumental step in the recovery process. Jason and Meagan Buzzard, both Paradise natives, were the first Camp Fire survivors to be issued a rebuilding permit after losing everything.

“We were both born and raised here and this is where our daughter Grace was born and raised,” said Jason. “There was absolutely no question that we wanted to come back. Paradise is home and we can’t imagine living anywhere else,” he added.

The Buzzards were the first of three Paradise residents to receive a permit to rebuild. Several other permits have been submitted to the Town and are in various stages of the approval process.

“This is early and we know there’s a lot more work to be done,” said Marc Mattox, Paradise Assistant Town Manager, during a recent community meeting. “Our main goal here is to communicate to the residents of Paradise that getting a permit is not going to be a barrier to rebuilding. You’re not going to be waiting. We’re going to be here for you and get it done as quickly as possible,” he added.

Paradise Irrigation District (PID) provided answers to some frequently asked questions as they finalize their plan to restore their water system. PID is working hard to expedite the rebuilding process, focusing on the mobilization of water tanks to standing structures and a testing/sampling plan for the entire system. Federal, state and local officials continue assisting PID in recovering the water system.

Debris removal progress got back on track this week after a short weather-related pause. 734 sites have been cleared and more than 235,000 tons of debris removed, to date. Phase I is complete, with Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) removal completed on 13,271 parcels, and 8,010 sites have been assessed in Phase II. 108 debris removal crews remain in the field, working diligently as weather and safety conditions permit. Here is a quick snapshot of the debris tonnage totals so far:

Total Debris Removal for the Project (4/10/2019)

Type of Waste


Tons of metals delivered/recycled


Tons of debris, ash, & soil disposed


Tons of concrete delivered/recycled


Tons of contaminated soil


Tons of vegetative material


Total Tons

FEMA has provided more than $84 million in financial aid to roughly 7,900 households/renters that qualified for assistance. The U.S. Small Business Administration has also approved more than $400 million in loans to businesses, private nonprofit organizations, homeowners and renters recovering from the Camp, Woolsey and Hill fires.

In addition, FEMA is supporting 231 households with mobile or temporary housing units (MHU/THU) using commercial site locations in Butte, Glenn, Mendocino, Sacramento, Shasta, Sutter, Tehama and Yuba Counties. The Transitional Shelter Assistance (TSA) program has assisted more than 636 households since the disaster. For more information relating to the temporary sites, please visit:

Stay updated on Recovery progress across California, and other news, at

RJ Ghilarducci

RJ Ghilarducci is a Public Information Officer for the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES). He joined the OES team to aid in 2018's Camp, Woolsey, Hill, and Holy Fire recoveries. He previously served on Governor Gavin Newsom's campaign, worked as a newspaper reporter, and coached Division 1 college football.

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