Parking lot now a pop-up encampment County residents struggle to help tide of people displaced from Camp Fire

photo by Karen Laslo

First day of Camp Fire

by Leslie Layton

At Chico’s Walmart parking lot, you see the new homeless: Several hundred people, some living out of RVs, some out of cars, some out of tents, some with nothing more than a few blankets. This is what a community borne of disaster looks like: Food vendors who want to give, not sell. Guitar-strumming teenagers, scientologists, massage chairs and chaplains.

This is where many displaced people who were already living on the edge – of canyons, of finances, of California’s blue political culture –lodged when the Camp Fire swept through their communities, and here as elsewhere, disaster response has been underway. Chicoans pull in with boxed donations and trailers hauled from other cities deposit piles of used clothing and worn shoes. read more

Butte County represented at SF march Chicoans join call for action on climate change

by Guillermo Mash

“Sustainability is not stealing from our children’s future” — Ali Meders-Knight

Before heading home from the Peoples Climate March in San Francisco, about 40 Chico-area residents gathered at their mural for a group photo in blue T-shirts designed by the Chico 350 organization. The T-shirts featured an outline of the state of California on fire, overlaid with the caption, “California is burning – vote out climate deniers.” read more

Mechoopda design to become part of S.F. street mural Butte County contingent prepares for global action on climate change

photo by Karen Laslo

Ali Meders-Knight shows her painting next to the Mechoopda basket (lower right) that provided inspiration.

by Leslie Layton

When Ali Meders-Knight was asked to provide mural art for the local contingent at the upcoming San Francisco march for climate action, she thought of the basket designs used by her Mechoopda ancestors.

She thought about historical descriptions of the Northern Sacramento Valley, when birds and butterflies were so numerous they sometimes blocked any view of the sky.

And before that day was out, she had a painting that will be used as a template for a mural panel at San Francisco Civic Center. read more

Protesters gather outside congressman’s pricey fundraising event

photo by Karen Laslo

Wes Owens, Raeanne Flores-Owens and Micha Lehner were among those protesting the conservative District 1 congressman.

Chico’s Raeanne Flores-Owens protested with about 19 other people Monday, saying that while Rep. Doug LaMalfa (R-Richvale) was raising money for his re-election campaign, much of the Northern Sacramento Valley was burning. “We are covered in smoke, it’s hazy, our children can’t play outside,” she said of the Carr Fire’s impact.

The 110,000-acre Carr Fire has been identified as the most destructive fire in Shasta County’s history, and the weather system the fire is generating has been linked to climate change. Air quality in the northern valley today ranges from “unhealthy for sensitive groups” to “hazardous,” according to KRCR news. read more

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Carr Fire driven by changes in climate Chico can prepare for extreme weather events that will be more common

photo courtesy of CSUC’s Jason Halley
Associate Professor Mark Stemen

by Leslie Layton

The Shasta County Carr Fire, with its towering, tornado-like flames tearing into the city of Redding, is the kind of summer fire that could cease to be an anomaly as climate change reshapes the Northern California environment, said Mark Stemen, a professor in the Chico State Geography and Planning Department.

It’s also the kind of fire that this city must work to prevent, said Stemen in a telephone interview Friday. “A fire like this could absolutely happen in Chico if the winds were strong and blowing down the canyon,” Stemen added in an email to ChicoSol. read more