FEMA aids fire victims in Butte County


OROVILLE, Calif. - FEMA crews are in Butte County assisting after the recent fires, something local officials say has never happened.

"This is the first time we've had individual assistance granted to us for people to get help from FEMA," said Cindi Dunsmoor, Butte County's Emergency Services officer. "So we encourage folks to sign up, make the call, come by the Fire Assistance Center, or the Local Assistance Center and get all the help they can get."

Representatives with the Federal Emergency Management Agency were at the county's Fire Assistance Center until 4 p.m. Monday. They'll be back at 8 a.m. until 4 p.m., Tuesday.

The Fire Assistance Center is offering aid for all victims of recent fires in Butte County. It's located at 7 County Center Drive in Oroville and can be reached by calling (530) 538-7473..

FEMA is in Butte County to help locals register for disaster assistance after the La Porte and Cherokee Fires. This includes grants to help pay for temporary housing, essential home repairs, uninsured or underinsured personal property losses and other serious disaster-related needs that aren't covered by insurance.

It's a collaborative effort with Butte County, where a Local Assistance Center at the Bangor Community Center will open on Wednesday and Thursday from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. The Bangor Community Center is located at 7500 Oro Bangor Highway in Bangor.

FEMA said it will be there to assist locals, too. "It is important for them to try to get back to normal, so they get back to regular life," said Cesar Davila, FEMA disaster survivor assistant. "It's not going to be the same, but at least this is a head start."

At the Local Assistance Center in Bangor, the county plans to offer help to people needing homeowners insurance, steps to rebuild, how to identify personal items, the status of utilities, getting new documents and more.

The County Assessor will be on site with information on property tax relief for damaged structures. The Butte County Sheriff's Office will assist with notification of damaged homes. The developmental Services Building Division and the Department of Employment and Social Services will be there as well. They will provide assistance for CalFresh recipients to replace lost food, as well as Veterans Services.

The Environmental Health Division will provide homeowners information about wells, septic systems and hazardous materials.

Several state and community-based agencies will be there, too, including the Office of Emergency Services, Department of Motor Vehicles, Department of Insurance, the Contractor's State License Board, the Salvation Army and Red Cross.