While nearly ten thousand firefighters continue to battle three major wildfires in California, state and federal agencies are strategically co-located and working around the clock to coordinate resources, provide assistance to survivors and help local communities begin the long road of recovery.
The State’s Emergency Operations Center near Sacramento continues working a 24/7 response and recovery operation with hundreds of emergency managers, subject matter experts and representatives from dozens of state and federal agencies. It’s moved massive amounts of supplies to logistical support centers established in affected communities to support relief efforts.
On November 8, Governor Edmund G. Brown issued an executive order to cut red tape and help streamline wildfire recovery efforts in communities across the state. States of emergency were declared in Los Angeles, Ventura and Butte counties late last week due to these fires, and California secured direct federal assistance to further support the impacted communities – within 24 hours of making the request. Federal Disaster Unemployment Assistance benefits were also made available for workers who lost jobs or had their work hours substantially reduced as a result of the wildfires.
Sunday, November 11, Governor Brown requested a major disaster declaration and joined leaders of the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, CAL FIRE, California Highway Patrol and California National Guard to provide an update on firefighting efforts at the State Operations Center in Mather, which has been activated to its highest level and is coordinating with local, state and federal emergency response officials to address emergency management needs. The next day, the governor announced that the state had secured a Presidential Major Disaster Declaration to bolster the ongoing emergency response and help residents recover from fires burning in Butte, Los Angeles and Ventura counties.
Then on November 14, the governor surveyed the damage in Butte County, met with residents impacted by the Camp Fire and held a briefing at the Incident Command Post in Chico with state, local and federal officials; they included Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke, FEMA Administrator Brock Long and leaders of the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, CAL FIRE, California Highway Patrol and California National Guard.
As emergency response continues on all three fires, recovery efforts are well underway, and will likely continue for months to come. Below are the latest recovery efforts local, state and federal agencies have provided wildfire survivors of the Camp, Hill and Woolsey wildfires.
California’s statewide Emergency Operations Center and its Regional Emergency Operations Centers have been working around the clock since these wildfires began. There are hundreds of agency representatives working on a wide range of issues including shelter operations, debris removal, impact to schools, fire and law enforcement mutual aid, disaster assistance and long term recovery needs.
Cal OES Established Task Forces
Cal OES established multiple task forces that focus on specific areas of need including schools, housing, debris removal, watershed, volunteer and donations management, utilities and more. Each of these serve a very important role by bringing together groups of people whose sole purpose is to identify needs and problems and work to solve those problems with speed, efficiency and effectiveness.
Cal OES is committed to bi-lingual communications for many of its multimedia products and methods. This includes Spanish translations for videos produced about disaster assistance, resource website WildfireRecovery.org, social media posts and video distribution assistance by the Sacramento Consulate to its constituency on Facebook and Twitter.
California Highway Patrol
The California Highway Patrol (CHP) continues to render aid and assistance to those affected by the Camp Fire by supporting the Butte County Sheriff’s Office and the Paradise Police Department, in search and rescue operations and in the apprehension of looters. CHP personnel continue to staff roadside access points to evacuated areas, are actively patrolling the affected areas, and are assisting in the clearing of roadways.
Currently, there are 81 CHP personnel including nine non-uniformed employees providing assistance during the wildfire disasters. CHP personnel continue to provide shelter security in several state owned buildings, like the Glenn County and Yuba City Fairgrounds, as well as the unified command post. CHP officers are providing escorts to for emergency services, through the affected area.
CHP continues to recover vehicles. There have been approximately 200 vehicles recovered as of Nov. 16. To obtain information about a stored vehicle, please visit www.chp.ca.gov — click on the Fire Update banner, and click on the Camp Fire Recovered Vehicles link.
California National Guard
The California National Guard is a close supporting partner of Cal OES during every major disaster. The CalGuard has been providing general use shelters and 28 “Alaska Shelters” at the Chico Airport staging area, for Wild Land Forest Fire operations. The CalGuard has deployed 930 personnel, 13 aircraft (both rotary and fixed-wing) and 115 vehicles.
California Conservation Corps
The California Conservation Corps (CCC) has deployed 179 members to the Camp Fire and continues to support response and recovery operations. The CCC assisted with establishing the base camp at the Chico Airport, which has a capacity of 200 people. They also helped establish a base of operations for Emergency Medical Services Authority (EMSA) which can support up to 50 medical staff.
Emergency Medical Services Authority
Emergency Medical Services Authority (EMSA) deployed 31 California Medical Assistance Team (CalMAT) members and continues to support shelters in Butte County. At the request of Butte County, they will soon be supporting four shelters. EMSA is working with CDSS to provide shelter tents to Butte County, and has staged 10 of 12 tents at the Gridley Fair Grounds; two more will be set up at the Neighborhood Church. Disaster Healthcare Volunteer and Medical Reserve Corp members have been deployed to the field to assist. EMSA continues to assist in the coordination of nursing support to Butte County as needed.
California Department Of Public Health
The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has provided over 1,000,000 N95 masks throughout the state for the wildfires. CDPH has dispatched vital records staff to assist at LAC’s and DRC’s, and has also dispatched two teams from their immunizations branch to the shelters to help train and install protocol on limiting the spread of diseases. CDPH is pushing guidance on how to protect you from Norovirus, and is working with Kaiser Permanente to help provide flu shots for staff at the SOC.
Emergency Medical Services Authority
Emergency Medical Services Authority, or EMSA, has responsibility for coordinating medical care during a disaster in support of the local jurisdictions. For the Camp Fire, we coordinated and supplemented medical support for the shelters, expanding them from community churches into county fairgrounds.
EMSA has mobilized cohesive and trained medical teams from our CalMAT (California Medical Assistance Teams.) These teams are integrated with the Red Cross and Public Health nurses. They are working in shelters or in special isolation facilities erected at each shelter to combat the Norovirus outbreak. Public Health infection control specialists from the California Department of Public Health are working with healthcare providers in each shelter to optimize procedures to protect workers and shelter inhabitants.
California Air Resources Board
The California Air Resources Board (CARB) deployed multiple portable air monitors and air quality sensors to the town of Palermo, the community of Chico-Tuscan Ridge, City of Santa Rosa, South Sacramento and Natomas.
CalVolunteers has set up disaster resource pages for the Camp, Woolsey, and Hill fires (https://californiavolunteers.ca.gov/current-disasters/ ).
Caltrans is helping mitigate the impact of the wildfires through specialized maintenance and other important assignments. Workers in District 3 have been feeding animals left behind during wildfire evacuations including chickens and rabbits. Caltrans District 2 (North State) crews removed hazardous trees in the area of the Camp Fire off State Route 70 in Plumas County. District 3 crews have repaired damaged traffic signals and guardrails on State Route 191 near Paradise, the epicenter of the Camp Fire, while Caltrans District 7 is also repairing damaged guardrail on U.S. Highway 101.
Department of General Services
The Department of General Services (DGS) is staffing the State Operations Center 24/7 and has received more than 160 mission tasks. The mission tasks include procuring various items to support mass care and shelter operations and state staging areas, as well as assisting with securing shelter site locations and debris removal operations. DGS has also set up a base camp for responders to the Camp Fire that includes shelter, food, laundry services, and showers.
FEDERAL EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY (FEMA)
INDIVIDUAL ASSISTANCE (IA)
- FEMA provides grants to renters and homeowners with uninsured and unmet needs to help start recovery. In the first three full days of operation, FEMA approved $814,164 through the Individual & Households Program.
- Survivors should fire insurance claims and may contact disasterassistance.gov or call 800-621-3362 if they have questions about available assistance or to apply for unmet needs.
DISASTER SURVIVOR ASSISTANCE (DSA)
DSA has 57 staff in the field. Crews are reaching out to survivors in storm-damaged communities to answer questions, register survivors and make referrals to whole community partners. Survivor registrations total 141.
DSA teams are also visiting shelters in Butte, Los Angeles, and Ventura counties to assist survivors with their registrations.
- The Butte County Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) in the former Sears store at 1982 E. 20th St. in Chico opened on Friday, Nov. 16, 2018. Hours are 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily.
- The U.S. Small Business Administration also opened a Business Recovery Center on Friday, Nov. 16 2018 at the Chico DRC location. Hours are 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily; closed on Thanksgiving Day.
SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION
- The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is the federal government’s primary source of money for the long-term rebuilding of disaster-damaged private property. SBA helps businesses of all sizes, private non-profit organizations, homeowners and renters fund repairs or rebuilding efforts and cover the cost of replacing lost or disaster-damaged personal property.
- Applicants may apply to the SBA online at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela, visit their nearest disaster center for one-on-one assistance, call SBA’s Customer Service Center at (800) 659-2955 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on SBA disaster assistance. Individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing may call (800) 877-8339.
- SBA offers low-interest disaster loans of up to $2 mil for businesses and private nonprofits, up to $200,000 for homeowners, and up to $40,000 for renters to replace personal property.
- SBA representatives are currently staffing all State / FEMA disaster recovery centers (DRCs), Local Assistance Centers (LACs), and Disaster Assistance Centers (DACs). SBA has also established its own Business Recovery Center (BRC) in Butte County to serve the unique needs of the business community.
- SBA is committed to serving the needs of those affected by the devastating wildfires in the counties of Butte, Los Angeles and Ventura.
- With hundreds of loan officers processing loan applications and a field staff of over 75 individuals supporting all phases of the recovery efforts, including incident management at the Joint Field Office, customer service representatives in all disaster centers and Public Information Officers on the ground in the affected communities, SBA is positioned to strengthen the collective recovery team.
- SBA’s low-interest disaster loan program(s) will provide the much needed funding to assist with rebuilding business communities, rebuilding and repairing damaged homes, and helping to replace damaged and destroyed personal property.
- SBA also offers economic injury disaster loans (working capital loans) to help small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, and most private, non-profit organizations of all sizes meet their ordinary and necessary financial obligations that cannot be met as a direct result of the disaster. These loans are intended to assist through the disaster recovery period.
FEMA and federal partners are also supporting the California wildfire response through mission assignments for specialized resources and capabilities, including the Department of Defense (DOD) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
- DOD will provide pilots and support to the California Military Department to gather information and assess fire impacts.
- The EPA will help collect household hazardous waste in the impacted counties.
Please keep in mind that that this is only a snapshot of the overall effort by thousands of dedicated people and additional updates will be made to this page highlighting more resources.