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Rancho Tehama fire | Butte County wildfire risk | Normalcy eludes Paradise teens

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The latest North State and California news on our airwaves for Tuesday, June 14.

Tehama County fire destroys multiple structures; 20% contained

A fire in Tehama County northwest of Corning has destroyed 10 structures, and is threatening more than 100 others.

As of the latest update Monday night, Cal Fire’s Tehama-Glenn Unit said the Rancho Fire in Rancho Tehama, which sparked Monday afternoon, is 700 acres and 20% contained.

According to Tehama County’s evacuation map, evacuations remain in place. Cal Fire says 158 structures remained threatened. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

— Andre Byik, NSPR

Wildfire risk persists as summer fire season approaches; Forest Ranch, Cohasset of high concern 

As summer approaches and temperatures begin to rise, so does fire risk.

Cal Fire’s Butte Unit says elevated fire conditions will continue across the entire county throughout the summer. The agency says it’s been working to reduce dry vegetation in high-risk areas of Butte County, but Cal Fire Public Information Officer Rick Carhart says residents need to remain vigilant, especially in two specific communities.

“We’re putting a lot of emphasis on the Forest Ranch and Cohasset areas because those are two of the sort of mountainous or, you know, hilly areas that we haven’t had major fires in the past few years,” Carhart said.

He said the agency has been doing a lot of work on the Cohasset Ridge removing fuels by hand and burning them.

“What that really is doing is trying to protect the entire Cohasset community so that a fire doesn't come over that ridge and get into Cohasset,” he said. “The fuel growth in those areas is pretty high."

Carhart said another important factor in protecting any community is creating defensible space around your home. He said it’s also important that Butte County residents know their evacuation zone, which the Sheriff’s Office recently created and has mapped on its website.

— Alec Stutson, NSPR

Camp Fire, pandemic rob Paradise graduates of normalcy

Paradise High School’s class of 2022 graduated earlier this month. During their time in high school, these students experienced the 2018 Camp Fire. Then the COVID-19 pandemic.

Freelance reporter Colleen Hagerty interviewed four students in the graduating class for an article in Teen Vogue. Hagerty told The California Report that students’ experiences and contributions during disasters should never be underestimated.

“We need to be talking to students more about what these experiences mean to them, and then taking that into consideration and empowering them to take action in the aftermath,” Hagerty said.

Hagerty added that as disasters become more common, it's even more important for adults to listen to and learn from teenagers’ experiences.

Listen to The California Report’s full interview with Hagerty.  

— Adia White, NSPR 

Prescribed Fire Training Exchanges teach communities how to learn and burn together 

The practice of cultural and prescribed burning can make communities more resilient to wildfire, but it takes training and knowledge. One of the ways to start learning about fire is to attend a Prescribed Fire Training Exchange (TREX).

Erin Banwell is a TREX coach and co-director of fire management at the Watershed Research and Training Center in Hayfork. She says getting people trained in how to conduct prescribed burns is essential.

“Indigenous peoples have been managing these ecosystems since time immemorial,” Banwell said. “I mean, fire is necessary to keep our ecosystems healthy, and if our ecosystems aren't healthy, we're not healthy either.”

Banwell said prescribed fire also helps keep communities safe. Something she says may seem counterintuitive considering how severe wildfires have been in California recently.

“But that's really what it is at the end of the day,” she said. “It’s the more fire that's in ecosystems on a frequent return interval, the less explosive wildfires we have.”

The state has a goal of treating a million acres per year by 2025, but Banwell said the acreage will only be reached if local capacity to perform prescribed burns is increased. She says her organization is focused on building workforce capacity by training volunteers who help landowners complete prescribed burns on their properties.

This story is part of NSPR’s 'Fire Returned' series. Read the full story.

— Sarah Bohannon, NSPR

After contentious election year, Shasta County’s registrar of voters holds lead 

Recent elections in Shasta County have gained national attention. In February, a militia-backed effort led to the recall of a conservative Republican supervisor.

Cathy Darling Allen is the county’s clerk and has overseen elections as the registrar of voters for 18 years. She was in the spotlight during this year’s recall. She also ran for re-election last week.

Votes are still being counted, but Darling Allen holds a large lead against challenger Bob Holsinger. She hopes this means something about people’s faith in democracy.

“Folks have confidence in my ability and in my neutrality,” Darling Allen said. “You know, it’s really important that the person who administers this process not have a political agenda to try and deliver when counting ballots.”

She said with some 16,000 ballots still left to process, the outcome of some races may not be known for weeks.

— CapRadio Staff

Young people call for action on gun violence

Thousands of young people across the country including in California led rallies this weekend calling on elected officials to support gun reform.

“The March for our Lives” protests are student-led demonstrations that were first organized after the deadly massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida in 2018. After the recent mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, many young people say they don't feel safe going to school.

Over the weekend, a bipartisan group of senators reached agreement on gun legislation. It includes funds for states to implement red flag laws to remove firearms from potentially dangerous people, money for school safety and mental health resources and expanded background checks.

The bill has not been put into writing yet, but at least two prominent gun safety advocacy groups are backing the legislation. Everytown for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action expressed support for the proposal.

Listen to students’ voices in today’s Headlines.

— Keith Mizuguchi (KQED), The California Report

Stories from NPR partner stations are edited by NSPR Staff for digital presentation and credited as requested.

In other news

  • Plumas Search and Rescue coordinator discusses Canyon closure rescues: “The morning after mud and debris closed Highway 70 through the Feather River Canyon, the coordinator of Plumas County Search and Rescue, Mike Grant, discussed the situation rescuers encountered the afternoon of June 12 in the Chips Creek/Rock Creek areas.” — Plumas News
  • Man takes plea deal in double murder: “Facing up to 33 years to life for the deaths of a mother and daughter, a Yuba City man accepted a plea deal Monday after being involved in a head-on collision with the pair in September of last year.” — The Appeal-Democrat

In case you missed it

Headlines is published every weekday morning at 8:30 a.m. Subscribe on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and NPR One. Theme song Borough is courtesy of Blue Dot Sessions

Sarah is an award-winning reporter, producer and editor. She’s worked at North State Public Radio for six years and was previously the station’s News Director before leaving to study at UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism.
A graduate of California State University, Chico, Andre Byik is an award-winning journalist who has reported in Northern California since 2012. He joined North State Public Radio in 2020, following roles at the Chico Enterprise-Record and Chico News & Review.
Angel Huracha has been a part of the journalism field since 2006 and has covered a range of topics. He is a graduate of Chico State with a Bachelor's degree in news-editorial and public relations with a minor in English.