Wall Fire Forces Thousands To Evacuate In Butte County

Jul 10, 2017

Nearly 4,000 people are still unable to return home as the Wall Fire continues to scorch over 5,600 acres east of Oroville. Reporter Adia White tells us what services are available to those who were forced to evacuate.

There are around 118 evacuees at the Church of the Nazarene in Oroville, and shelter manager Pam Dedich says they still have room for more.  

“We have a lot of beds left, and we also still have a lot of facilities that we have registered and been approved with, and we would put that out to the community if we needed to expand,” she said.

But she’s hoping they won’t need to use that space. Evacuations have been lifted for the area west of Miners Ranch Road and many at the shelter are hoping that they’ll be next.

“They’re guardedly optimistic now, because the fire seems to be slowing down a little bit, so they’re trying to keep their spirits up and be optimistic,” Dedich said.

Cindy Rutenshore and her daughter Jorden are some of the lucky few. Cal Fire officials came to the shelter Sunday night to tell them that they could go home, but advised that they wait until morning to make the trip. The two are packing up their jeep in the church parking lot, ready to finally go home after the long weekend.  

“I’m happy to go home and be sleeping in my own bed,” Rutenshore said.

Still, her luck does not come without misfortune. While she gets to go home today, her best friend just found out that she’s lost everything.

“They let her through this morning to go access their property and nothing, nothing was left,” she said.

At least 17 structures* have been destroyed by the fire so far. It’s not yet clear how many were homes. And Oroville is a small community, so a lot of people feel that impact.

On the flip side, people have really pulled through for those in need. Dedich at the Red Cross shelter says they’ve had plenty of volunteers and can offer evacuees three free meals a day. And they’ve been able to do all this, because of the support from the community.