Camp Fire Impacts Far Northern Regional Center
The developmental disabilities community in Paradise, CA has been struck hard by the Camp Fire.
Over the Thanksgiving holiday, fire crews under CAL FIRE command brought the Camp Fire in Butte County to 100% containment. Their work was helped by rainy weather and mutual aid from fire departments around the state and country. The Camp Fire is now ranked as the most destructive fire in California’s history for both structures destroyed and the number of lives lost.
While the immediate threat has been brought under control, the greater Paradise community faces a very serious challenge in rebuilding. This is particularly true for the developmental disabilities community, for whom the harm goes beyond just housing.
At this time, to the best of our knowledge, all clients of Far Northern Regional Center (FNRC) are safe and accounted for. But the number of people who have lost their lives as of Sunday evening was 85, with many more still unaccounted for.
All services provided in Paradise were destroyed. This included residential care homes, ICFs, and 72 people in supported living who lost their homes, as did the people who supported them. Because Paradise was a less expensive area to live in, 105 people who lived independently lost their living situation, and their lives are in turmoil. And 400 families who had children, either adults or minors, also lost their homes. Many are moving to other parts of the state.
It is a tribute to the resilience of our community that, in the words of FNRC Executive Director Laura Larson, “FNRC has been working hard with providers within and outside of our regional center to find what supports people need. We have received offers of support from all over the state and we are grateful. We now move to designing a new landscape of services in our region. Housing is the number one priority. As our community rises from the ashes, like the proverbial phoenix, we will continue to support our FNRC community in the spirit and design they deserve.”
You can help support the Far Northern community in the immediate aftermath of this tragedy. FNRC has set up a GoFundMe site for donations. All money donated to this fund will go to assist people with developmental disabilities impacted by the fires in Paradise, Magalia and the surrounding areas.
Whether you can spare $5, $50, $500, or something in between, every dollar you can contribute will be a show of support, love, and sympathy for a community that has been so deeply and broadly harmed by this tragedy.
While the Camp Fire has been the focus of most news, the Woolsey Fire in Ventura and Los Angeles counties has also been recently brought under containment. The impact has been mostly limited to the Tri-Counties Regional Center community. Though not as severe as the Camp Fire, for those who are looking for an opportunity to directly assist people in need, donations can be made directly to the center’s Client Help Fund.
All donations assist persons with developmental disabilities and their families in emergency or crisis situations when the State does not pay and there is no other source of financial assistance.