SACRAMENTO – Today, Camp Fire survivors, elected officials, non-profit representatives, and a variety of state and local leaders gathered at the State Capitol to reflect on the fifth anniversary of the 2018 Camp Fire. The coalition provided an overview of the ongoing recovery efforts and discussed some of the challenges remaining in both Butte County and the Town of Paradise in the aftermath of the fire.
Speakers at today’s event included Supervisor Doug Teeter who represents the Town of Paradise and much of the unincorporated area of Butte County impacted by the Camp Fire. He expressed appreciation to the various state and federal agencies, departments and lawmakers that continue to make recovery a priority.
“A fire of this magnitude is unprecedented in California. Recovery has been a challenge and there was no handbook or manual to follow. Fortunately, the residents of Butte County are resilient and the support we’ve received has been vast. Yes, challenges remain. But I am confident that our partners in recovery will continue to stand by our side with determination. I look forward to building upon the progress we have made and hope that this five-year anniversary will provide a renewed inspiration to us all,” said Teeter.
Megan Kurtz, Chair of the Camp Fire Collaborative, expressed a similar sense of gratitude.
“Five years after the devastating 2018 Camp Fire, we extend our heartfelt gratitude to all those who have supported us on this challenging journey. Together, we have shown the strength of community and resilience. As we commemorate this milestone, let us remember that ongoing collaboration remains crucial in rebuilding lives and healing our land. Together, we can continue to make a positive impact for the future,” said Kurtz.
Assemblymember James Gallagher, who represents Butte County and the Town of Paradise, offered special thanks to his colleagues in the Legislature for their support of funding and legislative requests that have been critical to the Camp Fire recovery.
“Words cannot describe the devastation that the Camp Fire caused in my district. No amount of time can erase the agony and raw emotion survivors of this catastrophe have experienced. Recovery hasn’t been perfect nor easy. But we’ve come a long way in five years. I want to personally thank all of our partners and fellow lawmakers who have visited the burn scar and supported efforts to ‘Make it Paradise’ again. Five years from now, I am confident we’ll have even more successes to celebrate,” said Gallagher.
Five years later, California continues to offer bipartisan support for Camp Fire recovery efforts. Last month, the Governor signed AB1500 (Irwin) and AB556 (Gallagher) into law, giving Camp Fire survivors three additional years to rebuild before a full reassessment of their property value is triggered. And just last year, the Legislature and Governor approved AB1249 (Gallagher) which provides significant financial relief to Camp Fire survivors by exempting Fire Victim Trust settlement payments from state income taxes. These bills are in addition to the hundreds of millions of dollars the state and federal government have provided to help those impacted by the Camp Fire with their recovery.
At the event, the coalition recognized several individuals who have played a key role in the recovery process, including California Treasurer Fiona Ma, Fire Victim Trustee Cathy Yanni, Senate Majority Leader Mike McGuire, retired State Senator Jim Nielsen, and Assemblymember James Gallagher.
The Camp Fire started on Thursday, November 8, 2018. It was the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in California’s history. Several local commemorative events are scheduled to occur in the coming days.
Click here for a one page data summary of the fire’s damage and recovery efforts.
Click here for high-res photos from today’s event.